Bobcats face No. 1 Pirates in state quarterfinals

Published 8:32 am Monday, March 18, 2019

NILES — In each of the past three seasons, the Brandywine girls basketball team has advanced one round further in the Division 3 state basketball tournament.

If the Bobcats are going to take an extra step this season, they are going to have to stop the top-ranked team in the state of Michigan — Pewamo-Westphalia.

The Bobcats (23-2) and the Pirates (24-1) square off in the Division 3 quarterfinals at Middleville High School Tuesday night. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

Brandywine advances to the quarterfinals with a 64-58 victory over previously undefeated Centerville.

Pewamo-Westphalia defeated Calvin Christian 56-37, the 14th consecutive opponent that the Pirates have held under 40 points this season.

Pewamo-Westphalia is led by talented juniors Hannah Spitzley and Ellie Droste.

Spitzley, who has already committed to Western Michigan University, scored 22 points last Wednesday in the regional championship game, while Ellie Droste, the Pirates’ point guard, has committed to Grand Valley State University.

Veteran Brandywine coach Josh Hood knows that for his team to be successful, it is going to have to focus their defense on the entire starting five for the Pirates

“There is a lot talk about their two girls, but the other three girls who play are very capable and extremely good shooters,” he said. “The thing that sticks out about them is that all five girls are extremely athletic and they are well versed, disciplined and skilled. You think about the girl from Comstock (Ansley Ansel) who is a phenomenal player. They have multiple of her. So, it is a tall task to play a team that is so fast and athletic.”

Hood, whose team also likes to play at a fast pace, said his team has had a good weekend of preparation.

Brandywine and Pewamo-Westphalia are similar in many ways. Both teams play fast and like to get after their opponents defensively. One difference between the two is that the Pirates have big post player, while the Bobcats are

“We haven’t seen a lot of pressure and that is kind of what they live off of,” Hood said. “They run a nice little diamond press and a run and jump. They run a little different style of run and jump than we run, but that is something we really had to concentrate and work on this weekend.”

Defense will most definitely be the name of the game Tuesday night.

Pewamo-Westphalia with 14 straight games of holding its opponents under 40 points will be tested by Brandywine’s quickness and outside shooting.

The Bobcats, who have held their opponents under 40 points 20 times this season, including 11 straight before Centreville scored 58 points, will have to defense the entire half court.

“Their defense is more like a Duke defense,” Hood said. “They count on their athletes one-on-one to stop you. So, they are just going to say whoever I am guarding s not going to score. That is their mentality.”

Hood knows that his team is capable to playing great defense as well.

“We have five girls who play pretty good defense themselves,” he said. “We have a lot of pride in what we do, so we will be ready to compete at the highest level on Tuesday night.”

Tickets for the quarterfinals are $7 per person and no passes will be accepted.