Brandywine faces No. 3-ranked St. Francis in semifinals

Published 8:35 am Thursday, March 17, 2016

Emily Erwin (24) and the Brandywine Bobcats face No. 3-ranked Traverse City St. Francis at 1 p.m. today in the Class C state semifinals. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Emily Erwin (24) and the Brandywine Bobcats face No. 3-ranked Traverse City St. Francis at 1 p.m. today in the Class C state semifinals. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

If the Brandywine Bobcats are going to reach the Class C state championship game in East Lansing Saturday, they will have to be firing on all cylinders.

Brandywine (24-2) will face No. 3-ranked Traverse City St. Francis (25-1) in today’s semifinal game at 1 p.m. at the Breslin Center.

The winner will face either No. 1-ranked Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (23-2) or No. 7-ranked Ithaca (24-2) Saturday. Ypsilanti and Ithaca play the second semifinal today at approximately 2:50 p.m.

The championship game is set for 4 p.m. Saturday.

Brandywine is one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the state, led by senior Emily Erwin.

Erwin broke her own school record with 82 triples this season and has 259 for her career. Both are in the top 10 on the all-time state list.

She is averaging 11.9 points a game for Brandywine.

When the Bobcats choose to go inside they will turn to senior Makenna Hartline, who was named to the second team of the Associated Press Class C All-State team for the second straight year.

Hartline, who is averaging 13 points per game, also had more than 300 rebounds this season for the Bobcats, who last reached the final four in 2010, coach Josh Hood’s first year with the team.

“It’s what you shoot for,” Hood said. “The last time we went to the semifinals, the senior class was in sixth grade and they went with us. Since they were freshmen, that’s all they’ve talked about. But this has a different feel. That first year, getting to Breslin was a goal. The goal of this team is to win a state championship, not just get there.”

Erwin remembers going to the Breslin Center and watching the Bobcats play St. Ignace in the semifinals, a game Brandywine lost 64-35.

“It was a great experience,” Erwin said. “I don’t remember much because I was so little, but I just remember going up there and seeing everything.”

Erwin said that this is the payoff for putting in all the time the past four years.

“This means a lot to us,” she said, “We have been working so hard for this. We are one big family. We are fighting for Kevin too. He is by our side. We are actually really excited to get to go to state.”

The Kevin Erwin is talking about is Kevin Touhey, the brother of assistant coach Patrick Touhey who passed away recently. The team has taken a larger banner reading #KevinsFight with them everywhere they go since his death.

Erwin is looking forward to walking onto the floor at the Breslin Center today.

“We will probably be nervous, but this is just another game for us, so we have to be ready and go for it,” she said.

Traverse City St. Francis is in the state semifinals for the first time since 2004, when it was the runner-up to Charlevoix.

The Gladiators are led by Annie Lyman (14 ppg.), Juliana Phillips (12 ppg./10 rpg.) and Lauren McDonnell (10 ppg.).

St. Francis defeated defending Class D champion St. Ignace 48-44 to advance to the semifinal game.

Arbor Prep defeated Grosse Pointe Woods 60-22, while Ithaca defeated Flint Hamady, which won the state title over St. Ignace in 2010, 51-43.