Brandywine overcomes off-shooting night, claims district crown

Published 6:36 am Saturday, March 2, 2024

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WHITE PIGEON — The Brandywine boys’ basketball team survived a stiff challenge from host White Pigeon Friday and went on to claim a 56-47 win for a Division 3 district championship.

Brandywine (21-3) advances to Tuesday’s regional semifinal game against Union City (16-9) at Watervliet at 5:30 p.m. Schoolcraft (21-3) battles Watervliet (19-5) in the second game at 7 p.m. The finals are Thursday at 7 p.m.

White Pigeon’s effective 1-2-2 zone defense forced Brandywine into a poor shooting night on the offensive end.

Brandywine made just 20-of-67 (29.8 percent) field-goal attempts on the night and drained 12-of-19 (63 percent) free-throw tries.

“This is high school basketball. White Pigeon came in and played us tough and packed us into a zone and we froze up. They played the game of their lives. We didn’t shoot very well or attack the basket like we wanted to. We were missing layups and just weren’t doing the things we normally do well and it took a mental toll on us,” said Brandywine Coach Nathan Knapp. “This game wasn’t the prettiest, but our kids found a way to win.”

Brandywine took a nine-point (45-39) lead over White Pigeon heading into the fourth quarter.

The Bobcats went up by 12 (51-39) over the Chiefs early in the final period.

Pisco sandwiched a 5-foot jumper in the lane around a pair of three pointers to bring White Pigeon within six points (53-47) with 2:33 left in the fourth quarter.

But Brandywine’s Whiting, a senior guard, knocked down a triple himself with just 1:28 left to play.

The Bobcats eventually got possession of the basketball and ran out the final minute on the game clock.

Nylen Goins finished with 15 points to spark Brandywine in the scoring column. Byron Linley finished with 10, while Jamier Palmer, Robert Whiting and Jeremiah Palmer added nine points apiece for the Bobcats and Brock Dye finished with four.

Jaremiah Palmer also hauled down 11 rebounds for Brandywine and Linley scooped up five.

Jamier Palmer and Whiting came up with three steals apiece for the Bobcats.

Pisco was the lone player for the Chiefs in double figures with 16 points. Mekhi Singleton and Josh Davidson posted nine apiece, Ty Strawser six, Drew Kobryn netted five and Wes Roberts scored two.

The Chiefs connected on 18-of-45 (40 percent) field-goal attempts and 3-of-6 free-throw attempts.

Pisco hauled down 10 rebounds for White Pigeon and Roberts grabbed eight.

White Pigeon jumped out to a 7-2 lead over Brandywine to start the contest on buckets by Singleton, Pisco and a three pointer from Davidson.

But Goins hit back-to-back triples and Linley and Jamier Palmer both hit shots inside the lane before Jaremiah Palmer hit a pair of free throws to put Brandywine in front 14-9.

Down by as many as seven points in the second quarter, White Pigeon’s Kobryn drained a three pointer to lessen the Chiefs’ deficit to just four, 18-14.

A pair of Linley charity tosses, though, late in the half put Brandywine up 23-17 at the intermission.

Brandywine was able to extend its lead to 13 points (43-30) at one point during the third quarter. But White Pigeon was able to whittle that deficit to nine (45-36) entering the final period following consecutive triples by Singleton and Ty Strawser.

White Pigeon coach Shawn Strawser was pleased with the strong effort his team gave against Brandywine.

“We worked real hard one that zone tonight. I thought we gave up way too many offensive rebounds to them during the first half, but we still were only down by six points going into halftime,” White Pigeon’s coach said.

“We gave ourselves a chance tonight. Brandywine just brings alot of pressure themselves all the time. Our kids play with a lot of heart and never give up.”