Undefeated Mendon, Brandywine square off ThursdayPublished 5:04pm Monday, January 14, 2013
The No. 2-ranked Brandywine girls basketball team will get a chance to see where it is at when No. 7-ranked (Class D) Mendon comes to town Thursday night for a battle of undefeated teams.
The Bobcats (9-0) and Hornets (10-0) are no strangers to each other having met in the Class C regional finals the past two seasons. Mendon has dropped to Class D this season.
Both teams are coming off easy wins. Brandywine won its 43rd straight Lakeland Conference game Friday night over Buchanan (52-23), while Mendon routed White Pigeon (54-14), a team the Bobcats have defeated twice this season.
Brandywine coach Josh Hood is hoping for the return of senior point guard Mackenzie Shelton, who has missed almost a month with a high ankle sprain.
“She was out there for the first time yesterday (Sunday) and went about 50 percent of the practice,” Hood said. “The main thing is she’s got to gain confidence in it. It’s going to hurt the rest of the year. Being out for a month, she has got to get her legs back and her conditioning.”
Shelton started some light jogging last week and was held out of Friday night’s conference games because “she wasn’t ready” according to Hood.
Getting Shelton back on the court will pay dividends at both ends of the court against a Mendon team that has a lot of size and an outstanding guard of its own in Brooke Howard.
“Brooke Howard is one of the better players we will see throughout the year,” Hood said. “When she goes, they go. We have to do a good job of containing her. She’s going to score. We just have to limit her getting to the rim. She does a job of penetrating and she can finish.”
The Hornets, who have a date with No. 2-ranked (Class D) Athens Tuesday, will have the size advantage on the Bobcats, but that doesn’t mean Brandywine will just give up on rebounding.
“Their size is always a concern,” Hood said. “We have to do a better job of boxing out than we have been. We’re not the biggest team, but that doesn’t mean we can’t box out and rebound.”
Mendon plays zone 99 percent of the time according to Hood, which will mean his perimeter shooters get some good looks at the basket.
“It will be tough going inside, so we have to knock down those perimeter shots,” he said. “We have to make some shots and we have to stay confident even if we aren’t hitting them early. We have to force the tempo. This is one team we definitely don’t want to get into a half-court game with.”
Hood said that this is the type of game that goes a long way in learning what his team will do in the post season.
Tip-off is set for approximately 7:30 p.m.