Bobcats’ Knapp gets 200th career victory

Published 8:48 am Sunday, February 5, 2023

NILES — Nathan Knapp earned his 200th win as the Brandywine boys basketball coach as his team ran its winning streak to six games with a 66-48 Lakeland Conference victory over rival Buchanan Friday night.

The Bobcats (13-1; 5-1 Lakeland Conference) drained five 3-pointers on its way to quick start in the offensve-heavy first quarter for both teams. The Bobcats led 25-16 at the end of the frame.

“The basket looked very big for them [Brandywine] tonight,” said Buchanan Coach Reid McBeth. “They set the tone and were in a rhythm during the first half. We struggled to keep up; when Brandywine plays like that they are tough to beat.”

A slow-paced second quarter allowed Brandywine to build its lead to 33-16 following an 8-0 run. Buchanan (7-7; 1-5 Lakeland Conference) would trim the Bobcats’ advantage to 33-20 by halftime.

A couple of quick buckets from Buchanan’s leading scorer, Thomas VanOverberge, cut the Brandywine lead to single digits early in the third quarter, causing Knapp to call a timeout.

“I was a little worried at halftime,” Knapp said. “We were tired and taking quick shots. I talked with the guys about how they [Buchanan] were going use backdoors and backside stuff and sure enough the scored on two straight possessions, so I had to burn a timeout.”

VanOverberge would finish with a team-high 14 points after not registering a single shot attempt in the first half. He added 10 rebounds to complete his double-double.

“He [Thomas] hasn’t been as aggressive the past couple of games,” McBeth said. “We need him to attack the basket.”

A Nylen Goins’ 3-pointer put Brandywine’s lead back to 17 points with 3:01 left in the third quarter. The freshman drained six threes in total and had a game-high 24 points to go along with two assists, two blocks, a rebound, and a steal.

The Bobcats’ lead ballooned to 25 points in the fourth quarter, allowing the starters to rest and Knapp to hit his milestone.

Buchanan’s losing streak has now reached four games.

“I’m just so happy to be their coach,” Knapp said. “We have an excellent group of guys. Buchanan is a rivalry game and they played their butts off.”

Jaremiah Palmer and Byran Linley also scored in double digits for Brandywine with 15 and 13 points, respectively.

Cade Preissing and Dillion Oatsvall added 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the Bucks.

Buchanan was back in action on Saturday night as it hosted Berrien Springs, who beat the Bucks 43-24 on Jan. 10. A date at Niles is scheduled for Monday night.

Brandywine has a week off and travels to Dowagiac Friday. The Bobcats are looking for the regular season sweep as they defeated the Chieftains 62-29 on Jan. 10.