Brandywine to face Cass for district championship

WATERVLIET — A pair of BCS Athletic Conference teams will square off in the Class C district girls basketball championship game at Watervliet tonight.

The Rangers advanced to the championship game with a 56-43 victory over New Buffalo Wednesday night.

The Bobcats reached the finals with a 52-33 win over Bridgman.

The two teams did not face either other during the regular season. Cassopolis is leaving the BCS for a new conference in the fall.


Cassopolis 56, N. Buffalo 43

The Rangers (11-10) outscored the Bison (5-15) 36-20 in the second half to advance to the title game.

It was apparent that Cassopolis looked to push the pace at both ends of the floor throughout the contest.

The result was Cassopolis forcing New Buffalo into 31 turnovers.

Twenty of those turnovers were steals, which led to many fast break points by the Rangers’ Santaja Gibson. Her seven steals (tied with teammate Angel Gray) helped lead her to 21 points.

Gibson also contributed on the glass by grabbing 16 rebounds.

Following suit, senior Ky’ana Buck turned in a solid performance with 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.

Even when neither team had a significant height advantage, Cassopolis still out-rebounded the Bison 36-24.

“Our game plan was to run,” said Cassopolis Coach Janice Gatson. “We did a great job of that. Gibson averaged a double-double a game for us. She just goes out there and runs.”


Brandywine 52, Bridgman 33

Behind a stellar performance from freshman point guard Zakiyyah Abdullah, the Brandywine Bobcats will be looking for their seventh district championship in the last eight years.

Draining seven three pointers along the way, Abdullah was also 100 percent from the charity stripe in what Brandywine coach Josh Hood considers one of the best performances by a point guard in southwest Michigan.

She would finish with 29 points and eight rebounds.

“In my opinion, she is the best point guard in Southwest Michigan,” said Hood.

Also getting involved was the leadership of Bobcat seniors Mia Stella and Makena Bowen. Each had big nights, with the seven and 11 points, respectively. Bowen added eight rebounds along the way as well.

“We didn’t talk about it Monday or today,” Hood said. “But now we can talk about the championship on Friday. It is March now and it is all about survive and advance.”

Looking to win their third district title in a row and their ninth since 2000, the Bobcats know that the Lady Rangers from Cassopolis are a whole different monster.

With a similar size to Bridgman, the Rangers have center Buck and forward/guard Gibson, who average nearly 20 rebounds a game between the two.

“We will let the girls enjoy this one tonight,”, Hood said. “But tomorrow we are getting ready for Friday night.”

The winner of Friday’s game will advance to Homer in the Class C Regional.



At Watervliet



Ashley Crowder 1 0-0 3, Lauren Keller 4 0-0 8, Brooke Janes 4 1-2 9, Kaitlin Essig 1 3-6 5, McKenna Smith 2 0-0 4, Sydney Payne 2 0-2 4, Erin Berni 0 0-0 0, Savanna Tate 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 14 4-10 33.


Nicole Sachman 1 0-3 2, Kennedy Byrd 0 0-0 0, Makena Bowen 3 3-4 11, Zakiyyah Abdullah 9 4-4 29, Mia Stella 2 1-2 7, Megan Schmidt 1 0-0 3, Cassie Luczkowski 0 0-2 0, Chelsie Luczkowski 0 0-0 0, Madison Bailey 0 0-0 0, Bethany Duval 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16 8-15 52.


Bridgman         9          19         30         33

Brandywine      9          27         40         52

3-point baskets: Bridgman 1 (Crowder 1), Brandywine 12 (Abdullah 7, Stella 2, Bowen 2, Schmidt 1). Total fouls (fouled out): Bridgman 17 (Janes), Brandywine 12 (none). Rebounds: Bridgman 30 (Keller 9, Crowder 5, Berni 3, Smith 3, Tate 2, Janes 2, Necas 1, Payne 1); Brandywine 33 (Abdullah 8, Bowen 8, Byrd 8, Schmann 4, Chelsie Luczkowski 2, Cassandra Luczkowski 1). Assists: Bridgman 9 (Payne 2, Smith 2, Tate 1, Essig 1, Janes 1, Crowder 1, Keller 1); Brandywine 9 (Schmidt 3, Bowen 2, Abdullah 2, Byrd 1, Stella 1). Steals: Bridgman 5 (Smith 2, Tate 1, Essig 1, Crowder 1); Brandywine 7 (Cassandra Luczkowski 2, Bowen 2, Stella 1, Schmidt 1, Abdullah 1). Turnovers: Bridgman 22; Brandywine 10.

Varsity records: Bridgman 4-17, Brandywine 18-4.


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