PHOTO STORY: Brandywine rallies from down 20 to beat undefeated Tigers

Published 9:42 am Saturday, February 17, 2024

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NILES —  Trailing by 20 points in the third quarter, Brandywine rallied to beat undefeated Benton Harbor to earn a share of the Lakeland Conference boys. basketball championship before a standing room only crowd at the Bobcat Den Friday night.

Brandywine defeated the No. 3-ranked (Division 2) Tigers 63-57. Benton Harbor entered the game 20-0 overall and 7-0 in league contests.

Trailing 47-27. in the third quarter, Brandywine used a 14-2 run to close the gap against the Tigers to 49-41 heading into the final eight minutes of play.

The Bobcats, ranked No. 1 (Division 3) by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan, continued its comeback in the fourth quarter, eventually cutting the lead to 55-53 on a 3-pointer by Nylen Goins. That set up a dramatic finish led by Ja’Torian Smith, who came off the bench and scored 10 points to lead Brandywine to victory.

Smith’s 3-pointer tied the game at 57-57, which he followed up with two more baskets to give the Bobcats a 61-57 advantage with time winding down.

Brandywine (17-1, 7-1 Lakeland) turned the rest of the game over to its defense, which got the enough stops to earn the win.

Jaremiah Palmer led the Bobcats with 20 points, while Goins added 19 points and Byron Linley, who suffered a cut over his right eye in the opening quarter, but returned to the game, finished with 10 points.

Josiah King led the Tigers and all scorers with 25 points.