Arbor Prep edges Brandywine 33-30 for state title

Published 9:07 pm Saturday, March 23, 2024

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EAST LANSING — The Brandywine girls basketball team’s historic season came up just short in the MHSAA Division 3 State Championship game Saturday.

The Bobcats’ late rally was not enough as they fell to Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 33-30 at Michigan State’s Breslin Center in East Lansing. The title is Arbor Prep’s second in three years.

Trailing Arbor Prep 31-21 with 54 seconds remaining, the ice-cold Bobcats caught fire from the perimeter and used a 9-2 scoring run — capped by a Miley Young 3-pointer — to make it a 33-30 game with 8 seconds remaining. But the Bobcats — who had used all of their timeouts — were not able to foul the Gators before the buzzer sounded, thus ending the most successful season in program history.

“We had our opportunities,” said Brandywine Coach Josh Hood. “We gotta make our free throws and I’ve got to do a better job of getting players in situations to be able to score. Overall, it was just a battle and I’m just really proud of our girls against a really good Arbor Prep team … We were not intimidated – we battled and I was really proud of the girls.”

“I would say Niles Brandywine — they made us work,” said Arbor Prep coach Scott Stine. “They have a great program, we knew that going in. I really truly believe it was the two best teams in Division 3 that got to play today and defensively they just do a great job. We didn’t shoot the ball very well, but a lot of that I’m going to give them credit for. They got good athletes and they play sound man-to-man defense.”

A game of runs

Hood described the game as a ‘defensive slugfest,’ with both teams shooting under 40 percent — Brandywine at 38 percent (11-of-29) and Arbor Prep 25 percent (12-of-48).

Brandywine scored the game’s first five points before Arbor Prep ended the half on a 15-4 run to take a 15-9 lead into halftime. The Gators — led by Mercer-bound twins Staci and Stephanie Utomi — led by as many as 9 in the third quarter before the Bobcats used a 7-1 run to trim the lead to 22-19 after three quarters.

The fourth quarter was all Arbor Prep — until the final minute. The Gators defense held the Bobcats without a field goal until the final minute, with the Utomi twins and Autumn Purnell scoring one basket apiece to put pressure on the Bobcats before their late rally.

“We got hot a little late,” Hood said. “When you’re not thinking about it, you know You’ve got to throw something up and they were going in. That’s our team — they’re resilient. When it got to nine with two minutes to go it could’ve gotten ugly but all of a sudden, they battled back. We rebounded so well considering our height discrepancy and their athleticism. I was really proud of that effort.

Stephanie Utomi tallied nine points, five rebounds and six steals and one block and sister Staci added seven points, 10 rebounds, two steals and one block. Taylor Wallace added eight points on 3 of 19 shooting.

“(Arbor Prep) is so aggressive and they’re so fast and athletic,” Hood said. “There’s a reason the twins are going D1 in basketball … When you can hold a team with that many good athletes and that many really good basketball players to 33 points, the girls did their job. I was really proud of them.”

Drotoz led Brandywine with nine points on three 3-pointers and added six rebounds and Kadence Brumitt added seven points and nine rebounds while Ellie Knapp and Adeline Gill scored five points apiece.  Arbor Prep won the turnover battle by forcing 18 Brandywine turnovers into 16 Gator points while committing just seven turnovers of their own.

Meanwhile, Arbor Prep was 7-12 from the free throw line compared to 2-10 for Brandywine.

“You’ve gotta be able to make free throws,” Hood said. “It’s not like the girls didn’t try — they did their best. These girls were amazing all year. When you finish 26-2, that’s pretty impressive.”

A season to remember

The 2023-24 was a historic one for Brandywine on many fronts. Wrestlers Maddison Ward and Gavin Schoff each earned state championships in wrestling and the boys basketball earned a Division 3 State title last week against Detroit Old Redford.

Hood – flanked by seniors Adelyn Drotoz, Ellie Knapp and Cadence Brumitt — became emotional when thinking of everything the program has accomplished under their watch.

“There are a lot of people who can learn from these girls,” Hood said. “They were the big thing when coming up (through school) and the last three years, we didn’t get it done. They could’ve folded but instead they rose up. I’m really proud of them.”

While the loss was painful for Knapp and Brumitt, they were proud to wear their Bobcat uniform one last time on the state’s biggest stage.

“It’s disappointing because we got here but I’m really proud of this team because we made it this far,” Knapp said.

“I’m happy to be here, I’m proud of my team,” Brumitt added. “I’m disappointed that we couldn’t finish the job.”

While Brandywine may have come up short of its ultimate goal, the season was one to remember for both the players and the hundreds of fans who made the trip to East Lansing Saturday.

“(The community) is very excited to be the ‘public school state champions,’” Hood said. “You saw what a community does out there and they battled. You saw the crowd — it was amazing.”



At East Lansing


Stephanie Utomi 9, Taylor Wallace 8, Staci Utomi 7, Autumn Purnell 6, Eliza Bush 3. TOTALS: 12 7-12 33.


Adelyn Drotoz 9, Kadence Brumitt 7, Ellie Knapp 5, Adeline Gill 5, Miley Young 4, Ireland Prenkert 0, Niyah Mason 0, Lily Gill. TOTALS: 11 2-10 30.


Arbor Prep       6          15        22        33

Brandywine     7          9          19        30

3-point goals: Brandywine 6 (Drotoz, Gill, Knapp, Young), Arbor Prep 1 (Bush). Total fouls: Arbor Prep 13, Brandywine 11. Technical Fouls – None. Records: Arbor Prep 25-4, Brandywine 26-2