Brandwine assistants provide perspective

Brandywine assistants Kaitlyn Koster, Nicole Newman and Kalie Wieger, along with Patrick Touhey (not pictured), all play a key role in the success of the Bobcats’ program under head coach Josh Hood. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Brandywine assistants Kaitlyn Koster, Nicole Newman and Kalie Wieger, along with Patrick Touhey (not pictured), all play a key role in the success of the Bobcats’ program under head coach Josh Hood. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Nicole Newman knows the tradition of Brandywine girls basketball as a player and is now helping the Lady Cats as an assistant coach.

Kaitlyn Koster is learning about the program in her first year as a BHS physical education teacher and hardwood assistant.

Both lend their perspective as Brandywine rolls through another successful regular season and hopes for a deep run in the MHSAA Class C playoffs.

“The girls have a lot of heart,” Newman, a 2010 BHS graduate and former Cats point guard, said Tuesday, Feb. 16, the night Brandywine extended its home win streak to 78 with a come-from-behind 52-47 triumph against Class A St. Joseph.

Newman, a nursing student a Lake Michigan College, notes that the Cats’ seven seniors — forward Makenna Hartline and guards Michaela Hartline, Alyssa Bolen, Emily Erwin and Jaleesa Garner as starters and Libby Moody and Rachael Szilagyi off the bench — have played together since early in grade school.

“That drives them, being together for their senior year,” Newman said. “They are driven to play the best that they can.”

Newman’s responsibilities on a coaching staff led by Josh Hood and also featuring Kalie Wieger and Patrick Touhey are keeping track of Brandywine’s substitution patterns and just generally seeing to the girls’ needs.

As a former Brandywine point guard, Newman identifies with the girl now holding that role — the 5-foot-5 Garner.

“Jaleesa is a good leader,” Newman said. “I tell her to be positive. You will have errors and turnovers, but that can’t bring you down. When you are the leader, you have to stay up.”

Garner, despite hurting her neck and going to the bench for nearly two minutes at the beginning of the fourth quarter Tuesday, tallied 17 points.

“They do a phenomenal job of hedging out,” Hood said of St. Joe defenders. “They are so big and strong and physical that it makes it tough sledding inside.

“Jaleesa Garner kept us afloat when we were struggling offensively. That’s probably her best game in a Brandywine uniform in terms of grinding it out and getting to the rim against some really big girls inside.”

Koster is a 2008 graduate of Bartlett High School in the northeast suburbs of Chicago. She lends encouragement to the Cats and passes along knowledge she gained as a point guard for the Bartlett Hawks.

“I’m kind of in the background,” Koster. “I’m learning as I go. I’ll put my two cents in if I see something the girls can do better.

“I’ve only been here for a year and I can already see that this is a very special group of girls. They always have each others’ backs. If someone’s down, someone else is there trying to pick them up. They are very encouraging with one another and they work very hard.”

Brandywine hustled its way from a 33-25 second-half deficit to beat the Bears. Erwin’s fifth 3-pointer of the night helped Brandywine take a 38-36 lead into the fourth quarter.

St. Joseph made things tough on the Cats much of the night with their strong help-side defense.

“On Saturday, we basically got what we wanted on offense (against Lakeshore),” Hood said. “(St. Joseph) coach (Paul) Brohman did a great job of scouting us and he was prepared for everything we were going to run.”

Brohman knew what his young squad was up against.

“I was proud of how our girls were able to handle this great situation,” Brohman said. “I’m just frustrated at the outcome.”

Erwin finished with 19 points.

Hood noted that Erwin made most of her shots with the hands of Bear Anna Fischer in her face.

“For Emily to knock those down in this atmosphere is big,” Hood said.

Shelby Madison paced St. Joseph with 11 points. Three Bears — Fischer, Katie Algyre and Lyndsay White — netted nine points apiece.

Both teams are in action again Friday Brandywine visits Parchment while St. Joseph goes to Niles.

 

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Berrien County reports two COVID-19 deaths

Berrien County

4-H announces alumni, supporters walking challenge

Education

Ballard Elementary, Niles High School to remain remote through end of the week

Business

Niles real estate agent named Realtor of the Year

News

Evergreen Road special assessment district created

Cass County

Cass County millages on the ballot for May 4

Dowagiac

Dowagiac announces March students of the month

Buchanan

Local provisioning centers celebrate cannabis holiday with sales, overcome software snags

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 799,140 cases, 16,986 deaths

Dowagiac

DUS to install classroom phones in elementary schools, high school

Berrien County

Berrien County 4-H Leaders Association sets annual meeting

Dowagiac

DUS Board of Education honors Class of 2021 Top 10

Buchanan

Buchanan HCU member center lands new leadership

Berrien County

United Way of Southwest Michigan invites community to honor leaders during National Volunteer Week

Buchanan

Buchanan provisioning center raises money to fight cannabis injustices

Cass County

Cass County Sheriff’s Office K9 finds home invasion, larceny suspect

Berrien County

UPDATE: Sheriff’s office finds missing Niles man

Brandywine Education

Teacher resigns after allegedly soliciting 14-year-old

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 793,881 cases, 16,901 deaths

Business

Cassopolis to welcome first marijuana dispensary

Berrien County

Merritt Elementary hosting pet supply drive for area shelters

Dowagiac

SMC psychology panel provides pandemic perspective

Berrien County

South Bend man sentenced for meth possession in Niles Township

Berrien County

GateWay Services to become Center for Growth and Independence