Updated: Seniors go out in style at Brandywine

Brandywine boys basketball enjoyed a night of celebration Thursday.

The Bobcats (15-5) wrapped the 2015-16 regular season with a dominating 57-27 home victory against Lake Michigan Catholic (6-14) to send the program’s seniors into the postseason with a victory.

Not only that, Brandywine cut down the nets, mugged for photos and ate cake and ice cream after the game in celebration of the program’s first conference championship in 19 years. The Bobcats reigned in the BCS Blue.

Brandywine coach Nate Knapp talked about his team’s mindset on an emotional night.

“We wanted be loose, have fun and enjoy the moment,” Knapp said after watching his team lead 20-2 at the end of the first quarter and 31-9 at halftime. “Senior Night is a night you hate. You hate to see kids grow up and leave as a coach, especially when you have one of your own out there (Austin Knapp). It’s tough.”

District play tips off next week. The three first-round games are slated for Monday — Brandywine at Cassopolis, Benton Harbor Dream Academy at New Buffalo and Watervliet at Bridgman.

Semifinals (Brandywine/Cassopolis winner vs. Eau Claire and Benton Harbor Dream Academy/New Buffalo winner vs. Watervliet/Bridgman winner) Wednesday and the championship March 11 are to be staged at Eau Claire.

With that in mind, Knapp took the time early in the third quarter to get his re-focus his squad.

“We’ve got to have our ‘A game’ for Cass,” Knapp said. “That’s why I called that timeout. We were getting a little lackadaisical and throwing lobs and trying to dunk on every trip. We were having too much fun and we weren’t getting the job done. You can’t clown too much. Bad habits will come.”

Knapp started an all-senior lineup Thursday, including Austin Knapp, Antonio Moffitt, Cole Searles, Zac Grishaber and Marquise Davis. In the second half, the coach went to his usual starting combination of Austin Knapp, Searles and Davis plus juniors Hunter Slaughter and Vinny Peel.

Austin Knapp and Slaughter led the Cats in scoring with 16 points apiece.

LMC, which lost its fifth game in six starts, was paced by Ian Cartwright and Thomas Koenig with seven points each.

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The Bobcats went 7-1 against Class C schools during the regular season.

Brandywine’s seniors reflected on the hard work that it took to get here and the focus it will take as the Cats head into the postseason.

“We’ve been through plenty of losing seasons,” Austin Knapp said. “We know what that feels like. Last year we did all right. This year, we wanted to be better.”

The coach constantly yelled to his team to “work all the time.”

Davis credited that ethic for Brandywine’s success to date.

“It’s the effort we put in during practice,” Davis said. “Everybody is working hard, even the ones who don’t play a lot. Everybody knows what we want.”

Grishaber, who was all smiles when he came out near the end of Thursday’s game, was still basking in the moment afterward.

“It’s means everything,” Grishaber. “Being part of this team is great. I love my teammates. Senior year went fast.”

Searles talked about the journey.

We’ve gone through a lot,” Searles said. “We’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve got a lot of depth this season.”

After transferring from Niles, Moffitt is certainly enjoying his first and final season as a Bobcat.”

“I like the atmosphere,” Moffitt. “We’ve worked hard and pushed each other in practice.”

 

BRANDYWINE 57, LAKE MICHIGAN CATHOLIC 27

At Brandywine

LAKE MICHIGAN 27

Ryan Tidey 1 0-0 2, Jackson Loughlin 0 3-4 3, Connor Christensen 0 0-0 0, Matthew Cutter 2 0-0 5, Ian Cartwright 2 2-4 7, Corey Seger 0 0-0 0, Kyle Juza 0 0-0 0, Thomas Koenig 2 3-4 7, Andrew Zuhl 1 1-1 3, Nate Schueneman 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 8 9-13 27.

BRANDYWINE 57

Austin Knapp 8 0-3 16, Antonio Moffitt , Cole Searles 0 0-0 0, Zac Grishaber 0 0-0 0, Marquise Davis 1 1-2 3, Vinny Peel 1 0-0 2, Hunter Slaughter 6 1-2 16, Brady Duval 2 2-2 7, Scott Miller 2 0-0 4, Dalton Knapp 1 2-2 4, Nate Kemp 1 0-1 2.TOTALS:  22 9-16 57.

 

LMC                            2          9          17       27    

Brandywine               20       31       50       57   

3-point baskets: LMC 2 (Cutter, Cartwright), Brandywine 4 (Slaughter 3, Duval). Total fouls (fouled out): LMC 13 (none), Brandywine 12 (none). Shooting: LMC 8-of-36 for 22-percent, Brandywine 22-of-47 for 46-percent, Rebounds: LMC 19 (Cartwright 3), Brandywine 38 (Davis 8, Moffitt 6). Turnovers: LMC 24, Brandywine 20. Varsity records: Brandywine 15-5, LMC 6-14. JV: Brandywine 70, LMC 52.

 

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