Brandywine basketball teams sweep Dowagiac, girls clinch Lakeland title

Published 6:39 pm Saturday, February 10, 2024

DOWAGIAC — The No. 3-ranked Brandywine girls basketball team locked up the Lakeland Conference championship with a 50-30 win over host Dowagiac Friday night.

The Bobcats made it a clean sweep as the boys basketball team rolled to a 62-28 victory over the Chieftains.

On the girls side, Dowagiac got off to a strong start with a 9-2 opening run in the first quarter before the Bobcats, who were without the services of Niyah Mason and Macy Pellow, rallied. An Adelyn Drotoz 3-pointer to beat the buzzer made it a 17-17 game at halftime.

In the second half, it was all Brandywine. An Adeline Gill basket gave Brandywine its first lead of the game and kicked off a 7-0 Bobcats run. A Maggie Weller 3-pointer cut it to 24-20 before Brandywine finished the quarter on an 11-4 run to lead 35-24 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter, the Bobcats outscored the Chieftains 15-6.

“Every time we play Dowagiac, [Chieftains Coach Jason Turner] does such a good job with their program and their zone is tough,” said Brandywine Coach Josh Hood. “It seems like every time we play them, it’s always really close at half and then we find a way to attack a little bit better.”

Hood said that the effort at Dowagiac’s end of the court helped turn the tide.

“Our defense got us going,” he said. “I got us some easy baskets which then allows us to relax a little bit. We had Cadence [Brumitt] out there hobbling around, Niyah and Macy aren’t here tonight, Ellie’s [Knapp] coming off of a sickness. We just got to get healthy. We got a huge stretch coming up.”

Weller fouled out in the fourth quarter, but not before scoring a game-high 15 points. Marlie Carpenter scored 11 and Audrey Johnson added four.

“They’re a great team,” Turner said. “Hood does a great job, they’re the number three team in the state for a reason. We played really well in the first half, we had them tied at halftime and even halfway through the third quarter, we were only down two but you can really tell when we got tired today they made us extend out of our zone and it started picking us apart a little bit.”

Knapp led a balanced Brandywine scoring effort with 11 points and Drotoz scored 10 while Miley Young and Lily Gill tallied nine and six points respectively.

“One of the goals is always to win a conference championship,” Hood said. “Like I told the girls, this didn’t happen over the last month or two months. They started last spring and it funneled into the fall, the most dedication we’ve had. We’re really proud of our girls. They’ll be part of Brandywine basketball history forever. Someday, they can come back with their kids and grandkids and they can look up and they’re part of the numbers that’ll be up on the banner and that’s really important to us. There’s a legacy now for them and they’ll always be remembered. 100 years from now, they’ll be in the gym at Brandywine.

“I’m really proud of them; they’ve earned it. They didn’t just deserve this conference championship because they’re talented. They went out and worked really really hard. They’ve been committed all season.”

The Bobcats (13-1, 7-0 Lakeland) are gearing up to face a 13-2 Cassopolis team in a potential Division 3 district preview.

“We know that there’s an opportunity to play them on our home court and figure out where we’re at district-wise with playing them,” Hood said. “Their kids are doing such a good job there, so it should be a heck of a game Monday night at Brandywine between two really good teams.”

Dowagiac (9-5, 3-3 Lakeland) will host Michigan Lutheran Monday night.

On the boys’ side, it was all Bobcats from start to finish. Brandywine led 22-3 after one quarter of play and 37-15 at halftime. The Bobcats led by as many as 38 in the game.

Byron Linley led all scorers with 16 points and Nylen Goins and Will Hubbard scored 12 and 10 points respectively while Jamier Palmer added nine points.

Chase Frazier led the Chieftains with 10 points and Gianni Villalobos added nine.

Brandywine, which improved to 14-2 and 6-1 in the Lakeland Conference, faced  Portage Central Saturday night before traveling to Kalamazoo to face Loy Norrix Tuesday.