Brandywine wins first district title since 2001

The Brandywine boys basketball team defeated Bridgman to win its first Class C District championship since 2001. (Leader photo/TIMOTHY RITTER)

The Brandywine boys basketball team defeated Bridgman to win its first Class C District championship since 2001. (Leader photo/TIMOTHY RITTER)

EAU CLAIRE _ Nothing would stop the Brandywine boys basketball team Friday in its quest to win the school’s first district title since 2001.

Bridgman hit 15 3-pointers, made comeback attempts and used more players, but it wasn’t enough to beat the feisty Bobcats, who prevailed, 89-78.

Brandywine (18-5) advances to play Homer (15-8) in a regional semifinal game around 8 p.m. at Gobles High School Monday.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Brandywine boys basketball coach Nathan Knapp said about winning a district title. “I’m so happy these kids got it because they come in every day and bust their butts. They had a will this year to find a way.”

The strongest will came from Vinny Peel, who scored a career-high 31 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead Brandywine.

“Vinny was a possessed man,” Knapp said.

“I probably played the game of my life,” Peel said. “I knew it was probably the biggest game of my life. I just knew I had to come in here and put the team on my shoulders and do whatever I had to do to get the win.”

Brandywine used only six players for most of the game and all of them made significant contributions. Austin Knapp scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Hunter Slaughter added 18 points, including five 3-pointers, pulled down eight rebounds and had five steals. Marquise Davis did a great defensive job on Bridgman standout guard Nick Knowlton, who scored a hard earned 24 points. Davis also scored eight points, grabbed four rebounds and had four blocked shots. Brady Duval scored 11 points, including three 3-pointers off the bench, and Cole Searles pulled down four rebounds to go with a field goal.

Brandywine outrebounded Bridgman, 39-24.

“I told Austin, Vinny and Cole that if we took over and dominated the glass we would win this game,” Nathan Knapp said. “It was just a great team effort.”

An 8-0 run late in the fourth quarter with all the points coming from the free-throw line gave Brandywine a commanding 84-69 lead with :47 remaining.

The Bobcats finished 25-of-39 from the foul line.

Brandywine, which led 53-40 after getting a 3-pointer from Duval with 2:25 left in the third quarter, saw its lead shrink to 57-55 with 7:33 left in the game.

Consecutive 3-pointers from Slaughter and Duval helped the Bobcats increase their lead to 63-57 with 5:58 left in the game.

That advantage grew to 68-59 after Peel converted a three-point play with 4:54 remaining.

But Bridgman wasn’t done fighting as the Bees pulled within 68-64 after getting a basket from Haiden Meyer with 3:55 showing on the clock.

After a Brandywine timeout, Peel stepped up again with another three-point play and field goal to give the Bobcats a 73-64 lead with 2:23 remaining.

“Bridgman’s a great team,” Nathan Knapp said. “They shoot really well. I can’t say enough. Our kids just left it all on the court. They did a great job tonight. We’re a hard-nosed team.”

The Bees made a remarkable seven 3-pointers in the first quarter, but led only 21-19.

“I told our team that Bridgman wasn’t going to keep hitting 3’s like that,” Nathan Knapp said. We just had to keep attacking inside and get them in foul trouble. We can’t shoot like Bridgman.”

Meyer scored 23 points, including seven 3-pointers, off the bench for Bridgman, which finishes at 16-7.

BRANDYWINE 89, BRIDGMAN 78

At Eau Claire

BRIDGMAN 78

Devin Hays 11, Ryan Chang 0, Julian Sheriff 7, Cam Mazurik 0, Nick Knowlton 24, Kole Hanke 9, Collin Gaishin 4, Haiden Meyer 23, Drew Dow 0, John Hess 0. TOTALS: 26 11-20 78.

BRANDYWINE 89

Marquise Davis 8, Vinny Peel 31, Cole Searles 2, Hunter Slaughter 18, Austin Knapp 19, Brady Duval 11, Zach Grishaber 0, Dalton Knapp 0, Scott Miller 0, Nathan Kemp 0, Antonio Moffitt 0. TOTALS:28 25-39 89.
Bridgman                   21       32       53       78
Brandywine               19       35       57       89

3-point baskets: Bridgman 15 (Meyer 7, Knowlton 4, Hanke 3, Hays), Brandywine 8 (Slaughter 5, Duval 3). Total fouls (fouled out): Bridgman 29 (Chang, Sheriff), Brandywine 14 (none). Shooting: Bridgman 26-of-60 for 43-percent, Brandywine 28-of-49 for 57-percent. Rebounding: Bridgman 24 (Knowlton 6), Brandywine 39 (Peel 15). Turnovers: Bridgman 13, Brandywine 17. Varsity records: Bridgman 16-7, Brandywine 18-5.

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