Brandywine boys hoops defends home turf with 56-43 win over Niles

Published 3:23 am Wednesday, November 29, 2023

NILES — The Brandywine boys basketball team started its season Tuesday with a 56-43 win over Niles.

The Bobcats led 20-6 after one quarter, 27-15 at halftime and 45-26 after three quarters.

Byron Lindley led Brandywine with 15 points and Jaremiah Palmer had 13 while Nylen Goins and Jamier Palmer scored eight and seven points respectively. Robert Whiting, Will Hubbard and Jayce Klapp each scored four points and Brock Dye added one

“My team played really well,” said Brandywine Coach Nathan Knapp. “They got tired at times, had some mental mistakes. Niles is a good team, they got some length, the Phillips kid is tough. They’re gonna be a good team. I could see them running their district again this year but that’s what we wanted — to get challenged. If we played in the middle of March, it’d probably be a dogfight with both these teams.”

For Niles, Ethan Chambliss tallied 15 points and Brayden Favors had 11 while Mike Phillips and Brenden Olsen had eight and five points, respectively. Quinton King added two points.

“In order to be the best, you always want to play the best,” said Niles Coach Myles Busby. “They’re the best in Class C. We didn’t execute everything we wanted to do. Ball security in the first half put us in a big hole. [Brandywine] didn’t do anything sexy, they just pressure, use their athleticism and turn you over for touchdowns. Even with that as bad as we played in the first half we were only down 12. All we needed was a few stops coming out but again, it was our miscues offensively and defensively.”

Knapp said Niles’ length and versatility on defenses presented problems for their offense.

“I think we did a good job attacking the zone,” he said. In the game, Niles looked like the Syracuse zone out there with those long arms, holy cow. I think Niles went to man, got us a little out of rhythm a little bit and we love man-to-man so it’s things we got to work on and make them adapt to that on the fly and try to recover when we hit a wall.”

Both teams are hoping to take the next step in their programs. The Bobcats hope to compete for a Division 3 state title this year after reaching the semifinals last season. The Vikings are aiming to defend their Division 2 district title and make a postseason run. Both coaches know that there is much work to be done in order to meet those goals.

“We’ve gotta take the next step as coaches,” Busby said. “We have to prepare and demand more, players have to be willing to accept that and they have to be willing to give more, so it’s tough. We’re returning, as the district champion, so we’ve got to earn it again. We’ve got to work every single day to take the necessary steps to get back to not necessarily where we want to be but we got to take this next step because we’re still a long ways away. It was a good first first game. We wouldn’t want any other way outside of just us coming out with the win.”

“I tell them, you gotta work hard,” he said. “You have to keep building to get there and we always go one game at a time. We don’t want to talk about [a state championship] — we want to get there, that’s the dream, but the reality is we got Coloma on Friday. They’re coming here so we got some more to do.“