Second-half surge lifts Brandywine boys to 61-35 win over Cassopolis

Published 1:54 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2023

NILES — The Brandywine boys basketball team turned up the pressure against visiting Cassopolis Tuesday night.

The Bobcats outscored the Rangers 34-16 in the second half to win 61-35.

Brandywine’s Byran Linley led all scorers with 20 points, while Nylen Goins tallied 16 and Jaramiah Palmer added 11.

Davion Goins led Cassopolis with 14 points, while Kenny May and Ayden Gilliam scored eight apiece.

“Cassopolis is very athletic, a great ball club,” said Brandywine Coach Nathan Knapp. “You let them get going up and down and momentum on their side, you’re not going to stop them. We talked about stopping offensive rebounds and doing a better job boxing out and we wanted to push tempo a little bit. The kids played hard all night defensively. We played a lot of half-court, man, full-court pressure defense and kind of made them work and were trying to wear them down a little bit.”

Trailing 15-11 after the first quarter, the Bobcats responded by outscoring the Rangers 16-4 in the second quarter to take a 27-19 lead into halftime. Brandywine kept the intensity high in the second half on both sides of the ball, forcing Cassopolis turnovers that led to easy baskets.

“We were up by three or four in the first and I was really positive with what we were doing and they kind of just started speeding us up, said Cassopolis Coach CJ Superczynski. “It’s a test for us against one of the tougher teams we’re gonna play all year. They’re physical and they’re athletic. I think we need to get hit in the mouth a little bit and wake up.”

The Bobcats led by as many as 26 points in the game and made 10 3-pointers.

“We were hitting shots,” Knapp said. “I’ve been on the other side where we play that hard, but we don’t hit shots. It was just a good ball game tonight.”

While disappointed in the loss, Superczynski is confident that his team will use it as fuel for the second half of the season.

“Our district is very tough. It’s probably one of the toughest in the state,” he said. “We’ve got to be better. We’ve had games against Bridgman (27-54 loss) and Brandywine, who we’ve struggled against. We’ve got to be able to bounce back. We’ve got to gameplan a little bit more and hopefully (Knapp) showed his whole hand over there and I know what to do next time, hopefully moving forward.”

Brandywine hopes to keep the momentum going as they prepare to host rival Buchanan at 7 p.m. Friday.

“We always go one game at a time so we never really look ahead,” Knapp said. “We just work on getting better and things that we can do better.”

Among the improvements, Knapp said, need to be made is boxing out on defense.

“This week we’re going to work more on Buchanan because they’re the same way, they’ll attack the glass. We’ve gotta spend some time boxing out defensively, gotta buckle down a little bit. We gave up some vertical penetration, which you have to stop at every level. That’s a breakdown on defense, so we have to do a little bit more work on that. But for the most part, I’m really pleased with the kids, and we just keep working to get better every day.”