After The Whistle: Basketball, Blood and being Reggi Brandewie

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Fort Loramie senior Reggi Brandewie (pressprosmagazine.com)

Seems like I’m the only one who hasn’t written about Fort Loramie senior Reggi Brandewie. Maybe I should. She’s my cousin. It might be through marriage, but we’re still family, and when you’re from Fort Loramie…you understand what that means. You also understand basketball. Both equate to damn near everything.


Seems like I’m the only one who hasn’t written about Fort Loramie senior Reggi Brandewie.

Maybe I should.

She’s my cousin.

It might be through marriage, but we’re still family, and when you’re from Fort Loramie…you understand what that means.

You also understand basketball.

Both equate to damn near everything.

Every article I’ve read on Reggi talks about her torn ACL in the preseason as a huge hurdle she’s had to overcome.

The fact that Reggi is playing on one leg and another held together by a brace might be surprising to most. It’s not to me. She’s a Brandewie. And she’s country.

There’s something to be said about West Central Ohio and the families that live there. Counties like Shelby, Auglaize, Mercer, Darke and Allen.

What’s Jason Aldean sing? “That’s the only way I know.”

Sure is.

I’ve always been drawn to and taken pride in my Western Ohio connections. My dad’s family originates in Versailles. My godchild has roots in Coldwater. And seemingly 99% of my wife’s family lives in Fort Loramie.

We go there regularly to celebrate holidays. Last year, however, we also went for a funeral.

Joe Brandewie – my wife, Carrie, and Reggi’s grandfather – passed last February.

The entire family – all six siblings and extended – were there. Reggi’s teammates too.

Basketball can be classified as a game at its simplest form. That day it was more.

Arms around each other, Reggi and her teammates approached the casket in unison.

Everyone in the room cried.

So too did my oldest daughter Ashley, then seven. Although she’d been to funerals before, this was the first one that hit her. Seeing Loramie’s girls team crying was the spark she needed to mature.

Virginia, Joe’s wife, now resides at the Heritage Manor Nursing Home in Minster. She has dementia.

In the 19 years I’ve known my wife, gatherings have migrated from the Brandewie farm, to Walk Up Country Club, to White Oaks to Heritage Manor. Why?

Family.

One of my first memories of Jerry and Stacey, Reggi’s parents, is parking at their house for my first Country Concert in 1994. I left orientation at Ashland University early so I could catch Brooks & Dunn and Neal McCoy on a Friday night. Wise choice.

There have been many good times since.

And some bad.

Reggi’s senior season hasn’t played out like she hoped, but it has delivered another opportunity at a state title.

The Redskins have yet to capture the crown in six previous trips to state.

It’s the centerpiece missing from a program resume that includes everything else.

No doubt this is one of Loramie’s best teams…stocked with arguably its best player ever in junior Darian Rose.

Friday, however, it may not have looked like it.

Loramie struggled offensively in the first quarter of its D-IV semifinal with Ottoville and did not have a point until Reggi came off the bench and did her patented turnaround move for the Redskins first score. Just 25 seconds remained in the period.

It was appropriate. It was also the first time she’d executed that move this season on her bum leg.

“I was so happy for her,” Loramie coach Carla Siegel said. “This has been the toughest year for her but she’s still the first one on the floor and the first one to pick people up when they come to the bench. She is the ultimate team player.”

Ashley started playing basketball this winter (second grade) and she reminds me a lot of Reggi. She’s tall, slender, has brown hair and is the oldest child.

She also loves basketball and has a hint of Fort Loramie blood.

Seasoned in dance and cheerleading and adequate at soccer, Ashley took to basketball immediately.  She scored 24 points in her team’s last game and hit the game winning shot at the buzzer. This week she’s spent a couple minutes a night trying to dribble through her legs in the kitchen.

When told of Ashley’s accomplishments, her great uncle John Brandewie – Jerry’s brother – said, “Good…Another basketball player in the family.”

We can only hope Ashley’s drive matches Reggi’s.

Said Siegel: “I’m so fortunate to have her on my team.”

I feel the same way about my family.

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