Vicksburg hands Brandywine first loss of the season

Published 11:02 am Wednesday, February 7, 2024

VICKSBURG — Unbeaten and No. 2-ranked Brandywine encountered a couple of unfamiliar situations in Tuesday’s non-conference girls’ basketball clash at Vicksburg.

For starters, the Bobcats’ veteran Head Coach Josh Hood was sick and didn’t make the trip with the team to the game.

Secondly, Vicksburg came out in a 2-3 zone defense that rattled Brandywine and allowed the host Bulldogs to build a sizable 30-11 lead after the first half.

Brandywine was forced to play catch-up most of the night and saw a second-half rally fall short in a 46-38.

The loss is the first this season for Brandywine, now 12-1, while Vicksburg improves to 12-2 overall.

Kalie Wieger, one of Hood’s varsity assistant coaches, applied a full-court press to start the second half and it paid big dividends right away for the Bobcats.

Brandywine began the third quarter with an 8-0 run, including a three-point field goal by senior guard Ellie Knapp that sliced the Bobcats’ deficit to 30-19 with 2:51 left in the period.

The Lady Bobcats got key buckets in the stanza from Adelyn Drotoz, Knapp and junior Miley Young as Brandywine outscored Vicksburg 16-2.

Young’s 3-pointer off a nice assist by Adeline Gill lessened Brandywine’s deficit to five, 32-27, entering the fourth stanza.

Drotoz quickly drained a triple and senior Kadence Brumitt hit a short jumper to pull Brandywine within two points, 34-32.

Vicksburg, however, responded with a 6-0 spurt while hiking- its advantage to 40-32 following a pair of free-throw tosses by the Bulldogs’ Scarlett Hosner.

Brandywine’s Gill knocked down a shot inside and a triple that brought the Lady Bobcats back within three, 40-37 with 1:31 to go.

Vicksburg’s Emma Steele knocked down a triple to put the Bulldogs back in front by six, 43-37.

Brumitt hit the second of two free-throw tries with 39.1 seconds left bringing Brandywine within five, 43-38. But the Bulldogs sealed up the win in the waning seconds on a bucket in the post from Makayla Allen and a free throw by Steele for the final difference.

Despite the loss, Wieger feels the contest should help make the Lady Bobcats a tougher team in the final portion of the regular season and during the postseason.

“Our girls got out to a slow start, but we were able to get all the shots we wanted. Nothing was falling for us in the first half, but we answered back in the second half,” she said.

“We used our defense to get us going offensively in the last couple quarters. Vicksburg’s team is long and very athletic and they stretch you out. We had a lot of open shots tonight and once we broke their press we made some good runs.”

Two early baskets by Knapp and Drotoz’s put back gave Brandywine an early 6-2 lead. But Vicksburg outscored Brandywine 9-3 the remainder of the stanza and seized a 11-9 lead entering the second period.

Vicksburg got triples on its next three possessions from Allen, Maddison Diekman and Hannah Devries to extend its lead to 13 points. Allen and Devries added put backs a few moments later to help push the Bulldogs’ advantage to 24-9.

Brumitt drained a short jumper to end the Lady Bobcats’ dry spell. But Vicksburg ended the half strong by scoring the final six points, including another triple from junior forward Kendra Cooley to open up a 19-point lead at intermission.

Drotoz and Knapp scored 10 points apiece for Brandywine, which made 23 field goals, including five triples, and 5-of-9 free-throw tosses. Gill added eight points for the Lady Bobcats, while Brumitt posted five, Young three and Niyah Mason scored two points.

Brumitt also hauled down nine rebounds for Brandywine.

Vicksburg was led in the scoring column by Cooley with 11 points. Diekman and Devries chipped in eight apiece, Steele scored seven and Hosner and Allen posted six each.

The Bulldogs made 27 field goals, including five triples and finished the night 9-of-13 at the foul stripe.

“No one likes to lose, but I think this group will respond positively and get back to work in practice on Wednesday,” Wieger said.

Vicksburg head coach Tim Kirby and his Bulldogs knew from their scouting report on Brandywine that the Lady Bobcats like to attempt a lot of three pointers.

“Brandywine hasn’t seen a lot of teams this season that play a lot of zone. It’s easier for us to get back into our 1-2-1 press on offense when we play a zone defense. Our length out on the wings helped us get out on their three-point shooters and also allowed us to rebound more effectively,” Kirby said.

“We are a better three-point shooting team this year and tonight I thought our kids worked extremely hard, got some easy put backs and we came out with great energy especially in the first half. I told our girls that Brandywine would come at us in the second half and they did. They made some three pointers themselves and got back into it, but we made some key shots down the stretch to pull this game out.”