Bobcats advance to district championship game

Published 8:38 am Friday, March 1, 2019

NILES — Anything can happen at this time of year.

Although it would finish with a comfortable 88-50 victory in the Division 3 district semifinals, Brandywine learned that that lesson against Eau Claire as the Beavers refused to go away in the second half Wednesday night.

In spite of the lopsided score, Brandywine shot only 39 percent (11-28) from the free throw line, and the starters sat the entire second half, to be saved for Friday night’s district championship game at 7 p.m. against Hartford (18-3), which handled Watervliet a 73-53 defeat in the other semifinal.

“A lot of crazy things can happen in March,” said Brandywine coach Nathan Knapp. “In all due respect, I think some of us were looking ahead to Friday and we simply can’t do that and expect to advance. We have to treat every opponent the same regardless of who we face so I hope the kids learned that tonight. We had some communication problems on defense and came out a bit flat in the second half. If we didn’t play the first half like we did this would’ve been a much closer game.”

Moving on to Friday Knapp already has a game plan on how to prepare for a talented Hartford team.

“They (Hartford) are extremely good in transition and can spread the floor well,” Knapp said. “They have three guys who can shoot very well and will take those shots if we give them space. It’s similar to playing a good Bridgman team where they aren’t afraid to launch the three and they got guys that can knock them down. We’re both playing for the same prize so we’ll be hungry and ready to go.”

Brandywine (19-2) was led by senior Brycen Duffield with 13 points, while junior Jordan Abrams added 10. Every player on the Bobcats team scored at least one basket.

Eau Claire’s junior Marquis Hackney led all scorers with 25 points.

In the other semifinal, Hartford had four players in double figures, led by senior Trey Ackerman, who scored a game-high 21 points. Sophomore Aaron Sinclair added 19 points while seniors Evan Delarosa and Brandon Galvan had 11 points each.

The winner advances to the Watervliet Regional on Tuesday.