3-pointers make a big difference for Brandywine

Mar. 21—EAST LANSING — Who needs threes anyway?

Not Lake City, when you can usually two-point the other team to oblivion.

Lake City finally drained a triple as sophomore guard Makayla Hall came in the game during the fourth quarter at Thursday's Division 3 girls basketball state semifinals against Niles Brandywine at the Breslin Student Events Center on the campus of Michigan State University.

She nailed a trey 49 ticks into the fourth for the Trojans' first in five games.

The Trojans (25-3) were 0-for-24 from 3-point land since last making one in their district-opening 43-34 win over McBain over two weeks ago. Since, Lake City went 0-for-5 against Evart, 0-for-6 versus Manton, 0-6 against Sanford Meridian and 0-7 in Tuesday's 36-28 quarterfinal win over Elk Rapids. They ended 1-for-6 in the semifinal contest.

Brandywine, conversely, loves to shoot the three ball, attempting over 500 this season and making more than 150.

Lake City took almost half that amount of threes this season, making 56 at a 21-percent clip.

The Bobcats (26-1) were 10-for-23 from downtown Thursday, a key to besting the much taller Trojans 52-39.

"Brandywine is not a place where six-foot girls grow for some reason," Bobcats head coach Josh Hood said. "So for 15 years, we have been one of the top schools in the state of shooting threes. We have to."

Hood said the team wanted to get the pregame fanfare of things like team pictures out of the way and get up more shots.

"We took a lot of warm up shots," Bobcats forward Kadence Brumitt said. "They felt pretty good."

DRAWING BLOOD: Lake City stars MacKenzie and Alie Bisballe both came into the postgame press conference with small cuts on their foreheads, still bleeding slightly from the game that ended less than 10 minutes earlier.

Each said the injuries came in the fourth quarter as the Trojans full-court pressed the Bobcats.

"I don't know how they reached that high," Alie Bisballe joked.

Both Bisballes played all 32 minutes, the only two players in the game to do so. Seniors Payton Hogan and Baylie Eisenga each played 31.

GRAND FINALE: MacKenzie Bisballe started out as a post player as a freshman. Now she'll be heading to play in collegiate at Grand Valley State University as a perimeter player, a role she played more and more at Lake City out of necessity.

"I got to play with my cousin; it was great," MacKenzie Bisballe said. "I love everyone I've played with at Lake City. Our community has our backs. I loved playing in Lake City."

At GVSU, she'll be reunited with her older sister Rylie, a two-time all-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference pick and twice on the all-GLIAC defensive team as well.

They'll be able to play on the same team for the first time, thanks to Rylie Bisballe's COVID-19 year that'll enable her to play a fifth season for the Lakers.

"I missed her by one year in high school," MacKenzie Bisballe said. "She gets her COVID year, so I'm super excited that she's coming back for her fifth year. I should be a junior. I'm still young for my grade. I'm glad that my mom put me in school early so I can play with her now."

STANDING TALL: With Brandywine's tallest player, Brumitt, giving up seven inches to 6-foot-4 Alie Bisballe, the Bobcats constantly double teamed her.

"It's really frustrating, especially when they guard me from the free throw line down double teamed," Alie Bisballe said. "It's definitely hard to move and stuff, but I try to find my open teammates and try to post up when I can and try to move and get open and find my other teammates."

She ended the game with 12 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three blocks in a building where she'll see action each season once she reports to the University of Wisconsin in mid-June to start classes and workouts.

"We definitely grew from our first two games," Alie Bisballe said. "Losing the first two, I love that perseverance that our team had. We overcame adversity. Everyone was saying that we weren't that good and stuff like that. I'm just so proud of all our accomplishments, and I'm just so proud of everyone and so grateful I was part of this experience."

BRESLIN BITS: The upper deck was completed closed off, with black curtains blocking off the entire area's view. It was open for last week's boys semifinals, with one lone spectator sitting up there for the McBain-Brandywine D3 semifinal. ... The Trojans mostly shut down Brandywine star guard Ellie Knapp, holding her to four points and five assists. Brumitt made up for that with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

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