Division 3: Bucks, Bobcats set to meet for championship
Published 11:45 pm Thursday, March 2, 2023
COLOMA — It was probably inevitable that the two biggest bullies in the Division 3 Girls Basketball District Tournament at Coloma would meet to decide the championship.
After all, No. 1-ranked Buchanan and No. 9-ranked Brandywine have dominated basketball in southwest Michigan for nearly a decade.
The Bucks and Bobcats, who were seeded No. 1 and No. 2 heading into the district tournament, lived up to their billings as they advanced to the championship game Friday night.
Brandywine (21-2) had no trouble moving on Wednesday night as it defeated the host Comets 66-14, while Buchanan (20-1) rolled to a 70-28 win over Cassopolis.
Brandywine vs. Coloma
The Bobcats’ domination of the Comets, who played a split JV and varsity schedule this season, was so complete that veteran Brandywine Coach Josh Hood rested his started the entire second half after opening up a 49-8 halftime advantage.
Despite a slow start, the Bobcats were able to score 24 first-quarter points, while holding Coloma to two baskets. Brandywine scored 24 points in the second quarter, which resulted in the entire second-half being played with a running clock.
“I am proud of the girls,” Hood said. “We took care of business. It is never easy in March and they did a really good job. We were a little shaky at the beginning, but then they got after it and did a really good job.”
Despite playing a mixture of varsity reserves and JV players, the Bobcats still was able to limit Coloma’s offensive opportunities and held the Comets to six points.
Kadence Brumitt and Allie Carter-Lee led Brandywine with 10 points. Adelyn Drotoz added nine points, while Paige Krisler finished with eight points.
Kourtney Smith led Coloma (2-8) with six points.
Buchanan vs. Cassopolis
Despite not having played in nearly two weeks, the top-ranked Bucks were hitting on all cylinders right from the jump Wednesday night.
Buchanan raced out to a 24-6 first-quarter lead and never looked back in eliminated the Rangers from the state tournament.
“It was nice to be back on the court,” said Buchanan Coach Gabe Miller. “As a result of some cancellations, our last game was 12 days ago, so it was good to play a competitive Cassopolis team to work through some game rust.”
Cassopolis (17-7) struggled shooting the basketball throughout the contest. The Rangers also did not respond to Buchanan’s fast start.
“I really was pleased with my team’s perseverance in the first quarter,” Miller said. “I believe Faith [Carson] went to the bench early with what we thought was her second foul and the score was tied 6-6, and then we rattled off 18 straight points to extend the lead 24-6 at the end of the first quarter.”
The Bucks scored another 20 points in the second quarter to increase its advantage to 44-14 heading into the locker room at the intermission.
Cassopolis was held to 14 points again in the second half as Buchanan rolled into the district championship game.
Carson, who did run into foul trouble in the third quarter, still scored a game-high 24 points, grabbed 23 rebounds and had five blocks.
Miller was able to turn to his bench when Carson had to leave the game. The Bucks did not miss a beat. The Bucks also got a starter back for the state tournament, which was a big boost for Buchanan.
“Sophomore Katie Ailes stepped up and had a big game with us netting 13 points and 8 rebounds, and it was good to see Hannah Herman back on the court for us after a 4-5 game layoff,” he said. “Additionally, I felt Jillian McKean played a great game for us early, chasing down a lot of long rebounds and loose balls while applying the defensive pressure she has been known for.”
The Rangers, who went undefeated to win the Southwest 10 Conference championship this season, were led by Ryley Bowsher’s nine points. Alexis Millirans and Atyanna Alford both finished with six points.
Friday night’s championship game is set for 7 p.m. at Coloma High School.