Bobcats move step closer to state title with win over Chargers

Published 10:01 am Wednesday, March 20, 2024

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FENNVILLE — Top-ranked Brandywine is trying follow in the footsteps of Pewamo-Westphalia, which is the last school  to win both the girls and boys basketball state championships in the same season.

The Pirates won in 2019, a year after Detroit Edison accomplished the same feat in 2018.

The Bobcat boys basketball team completed the first half of the championship double with a 56-48 win over Detroit Old Redford last Saturday.

Brandywine moved a step closer to joining that exclusive club as it defeated Grand Rapids Covenant Christian 43-34 in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 state quarterfinal at Fennville High School Tuesday night.

The win advances to the Bobcats (25-1) to the semifinals at the Breslin Center on the campus of Michigan State University to face Lake City (25-2) at noon. Lake City defeated Elk Rapids 36-28 in its quarterfinal contest Tuesday.

There are a lot of similarities between the Brandywine basketball teams this season.

Both squads faced challenging non-conference schedules while also winning their Lakeland Conference championships. Both also had to go through Covenant Christian in the quarterfinals to get to East Lansing.

Brandywine will be making its first trip to the semifinals since 2016. The Bobcats were defeated by Traverse City St. Francis 53-40.

Trying to win state championship is challenging, and a team has at least one game where it has to grind it out in order to advance.

The Bobcats have had very few close games, so Tuesday’s night win just might be the one that gets them over the hump. Brandywine will be trying win the school’s first-ever semifinal game, just like its boys team did last Thursday.

“I think you’ll be really hard pressed to find a public school with the winter Brandywine has had,” said veteran Brandywine Coach Josh Hood. “We’ve talked about it — let’s just keep this ride going. What a great last month it’s been. We’re really excited to head back to Michigan State University.”

Tuesday’s quarterfinal started out looking like any other Brandywine game with the Bobcats bolting out to a lead led by its pressure defense and outside shooting.

Brandywine led 17-8 after one quarter thanks to the inside play of senior Kadence Brumitt and the outside side shooting of junior Adelyn Drotoz.

Drotoz got the Bobcats on the board first with a 3-pointer. Her triple late in the contest extended Brandywine’s advantage to nine points, and effectively ended the Chargers’ comebzck effort.

In between, Brumitt came up big every time the Bobcats needed her to.

With Covenant Christian having whittled the Brandywine lead down to 23-20 early in the third quarter, Brumitt would score off of back-to-back offensive rebounds to halt the Chargers’ momentum temporarily.

“Nothing rattles Kadence Brumitt,” Hood said. “Her demeanor is always the same. I try to get her to smile once in a while — maybe we’ve seen it twice. But Kadence Brumitt is a gamer, and I’m just so proud of her.”

Trailing by 11 points heading into the fourth quarter, the Chargers (19-6) made one last run at the Bobcats.

This time it was Drotoz who delivered the key shot as she buried a 3-pointer midway through the period to end the Covenant Christian charge.

The Bobcats would make enough plays and enough free throws down the stretch to advance to the semifinals.

“We were kind of playing not to lose there for a little bit,” Hood said. “It was the first quarterfinal game for these girls, so of course you get a little tense there. We kept looking up, just thinking ‘we have to get through these three minutes,’ but really, you need to stay in attack mode.”

Hood was not surprised by his junior stepping up in the big moment.

“You talk about Adelyn Drotoz, she did it other night in a 10-point game in the regional final when Ellie found her she buried. Tonight, in a big moment, she did it again.”

Knapp led Brandywine and all scorers with 17 points, while Brumitt finished with 12 points and seven rounds. Drotoz and Miley Young both chipped in with six points.