Erwin breaks out of slump in a big way
Published 9:21 am Monday, December 14, 2015
BUCHANAN — Just because Emily Erwin didn’t fill up the scoring column in Brandywine’s first two girls basketball games of 2015-16, that didn’t mean the 5-foot-5 senior was discouraged.
To the contrary, Erwin just worked on her shot in practice and it showed as she rained in six 3-pointers — all in the first half — and tied classmate Makenna Hartline for the team scoring lead with 18 points in a 67-47 BCS Athletic Conference runaway at Buchanan Thursday.
“My coach encouraged me to keep shooting and my teammates were encouraging me to shoot,” Erwin said after the Lady Cats moved to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference. “Even if I miss, I keep shooting. I’ll keep shooting until one goes in.”
Getting into the rhythm of Brandywine’s offense, Erwin dropped in three bombs in the first quarter as the visitors built a 20-point lead and three more in the second quarter as the Cats took a 22-point edge into halftime.
As is the case with the rest of Brandywine’s players, Erwin was not really worried about her numbers.
“I really don’t care about scoring that much,” Erwin. “If we’re not pounding it into the post, we rely on other people to shoot, too.”
It was the Cats’ depth that proved to be too much for Buchanan.
“We were able to rotate nine girls though quite frequently,” Brandywine coach Josh Hood said. “We said, ‘nine girls, nine girls and let’s keep going fast.’ We got some nice looks in transition.”
Alyssa Bolen also had three triples and nine points to go with a team-best seven assists.
Mia Stella netted a pair of treys and Makena Bowen one. Bowen and Michaela Hartline tied for the team lead with three steals apiece. The Cats forced the Bucks into 29 turnovers.
“It’s not about who gets the press,” Hood said. “It’s about nine girls working hard and playing together and tonight we were extremely unselfish.
“They always want to get other players involved.”
With Jaleesa Garner serving as a catalyst for the Cats on both offense and defense, Brandywine was able to take advantage of turnovers and convert them into baskets — either layups or the 12 3-pointers.
“If Jaleesa Garner is not the best defender in southwest Michigan or the state, I have not seen anything better,” Hood said. “She really takes pride in our defense.
“She deserves a lot of credit for shutting down a very good player (in Bucks standout Brooke Wesner).”
Jade Mosier and Jayla Bibbs paced Buchanan (2-1, 1-1) with 18 and 15 points, respectively. Mosser tallied eight points in the fourth quarter. Bibbs, who had several steals and fastbreak layups, canned six points in the first quarter.
The Cats made 25 turnovers, but the Bucks could not take full advantage.
“When we had our opportunities we didn’t finish,” Buchanan coach Gabe Miller said. “We had a lot of steals, a lot of takeaways. There was a lid on the basket for whatever reason and we couldn’t complete our 2-pointers.”
Miller said the familiarity of a Brandywine team that has eight of nine letterwinners back from a Sweet 16 teams showed.
“We’ve got to go to work on that and give them another run the next time,” Miller said.
Buchanan is scheduled to visit Brandywine Jan. 26.
Brandywine will host Cassopolis Tuesday while the Bucks will travel to Comstock Friday.