Mother Nature has halted two Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference teams just as they were hitting their stride.
BCS White Division kingpin Michigan Lutheran, BCS Red powerhouse Brandywine were just finding their rhythm on defense and offense, respectively, before the polar vortex cancelled school all this week.
Lutheran (6-0 BCS White, 8-0) has relied on its defensive output to compensate for its youth. But with players unable to get to the court due to the blowing snow and dangerously low temperatures, a small rebuilding process might be needed.
“Our defense has been very strong. We are off to a pretty nice start at 8-0. We’ve been slowed up this week, it will be interesting to see how the engine revs up,” Lutheran coach Ron Briney said.
If the weather breaks and schedules hold up, the Titans are scheduled to face River Valley (3-2, 4-5). The Mustangs are the only team so far to have pushed Lutheran before falling 49-38.
Briney expects another tough outing with River Valley, especially without seeing the court all week.
However, not having practice might not be such a disadvantage.
“(River Valley) was competitive with us the first time. There’s not a whole lot (players) can do at this time. I’m sure parents have them busy shoveling, but the reality is you can’t do much,” Briney said. “But that is the way for all teams.”
Briney said he is confident that his players are staying as active as possible. He anticipates some struggles on offense when the Titans return, but is hoping that his team’s defense will be there.
“Our kids take ownership in their work,” he said. “I’m blessed to have kids that show up. We will need contributions from everyone to get our momentum up to were we had it before this cold spell.
“This group has done a great job with the (defense) being a building block.”
Brandywine (4-1 BCS Red, 10-1) has only one loss this season thanks to division leader Comstock (5-0, 9-2). The Bobcats are hoping their offense will be up and running be the time the two meet next.
“We press a lot and shoot a lot of 3s,” Brandywine coach Josh Hood said. “We will have to get our legs back. The girls we have are experienced, and I’m not worried about their work ethic when we reconvene on Friday.”
Brandywine shakes the snow off against Bridgman, and then starts next week with a game versus Lakeshore. But the Bobcats are keeping their focus on the Colts, whom they welcome next Friday for homecoming.
“We had a tough game at Comstock,” Hood said. “We got to shoot the ball a lot better. We have to be a bit more creative on offense. I have to do a better job getting the girls ready.
“We’ve also got to be able to key on Daisy (Ansel) better. She’s a Division 2 signee averaging 33 points a game, and we gave up 27 to her.”
Ansel will play at Grand Valley State University next year.
“I’m proud of our girls. We’ve played really well,” Hood said. “This is a tough stretch for us being limited to practice for our style of play. But we have a big week next week and we are excited.”
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