Bobcats hold off late Bucks rally to remain undefeated

NILES — For two and a half quarters, host Brandywine played solid defense. But that did not keep arch rival Buchanan from making things interesting in the final eight minutes of the Bobcats’ 66-56 BCS Red Division victory Friday night.

Veteran Brandywine coach Nathan Knapp was extremely pleased with the defensive effort his team gave him in the first half. The Bobcats played with energy, emotion and seemed to be all over the court, causing chaos for the Bucks.

That resulted in a 38-23 halftime lead for the undefeated Bobcats.

“It’s pure hustle,” Knapp said. “The kids were dialed in tonight, and it was good to see. We have slow first halves and usually have great second halves. We came out ready to go tonight, and we need to be able to make adjustments during the game.”

While the effort was still strong in the third quarter, Knapp could see his team was not quite the same, and by the final quarter, he knew the Bobcats were in trouble.

“We were lucky to survive this one,” said. “It’s another learning thing. We haven’t played 32 minutes all year, and didn’t expect to tonight. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’re gonna get there.”

Trailing by 15 points, 47-32, the Bucks exploded offensively, scoring 24 points and cutting the deficit to 60-52 with less than a minute to play on a basket by Buchanan center Logan Carson.

The Bobcats connected on 14-of-20 free throw attempts, including 9-of-12 by senior Jordan Abrams, who scored a game-high 24 points.

Brandywine (8-0, 3-0 BCS Red) also got 14 points from Kendall Chrismon and nine points from Shane Brown.

The Bucks (4-2, 1-2 BCS Red) were led by Carson’s 17 points. Gavin Fazi added 14 points.

Brandywine hosts New Buffalo in a BCS non-divisional game Tuesday night. Buchanan will host St. Joseph.