All things considered, there was very little riding on Friday night’s matchup between Georgetown Prep and Bullis School, unless you count the fact that the Bulldogs’ perfect conference record was on the line. Aside from that, both teams had already secured first-round byes in next week’s Interstate Athletic Conference playoffs and the regular season crown had been wrapped up by the Bulldogs.
But, while second-ranked Bullis coach Bruce Kelley admitted that practices had gotten a little lackadaisical since Wednesday, there was no shortage of motivation from either side. Certainly not in Prep’s Michael Wolfe, a Loyola University signee who finished with a game-high 25 points, or Bullis’ Holy Cross recruit Anthony Thompson, who went for 22 points, and definitely not in Jamaal Greenwood, a reclassified junior transfer from Prep who buried two clutch free throws late to seal the win — Bullis’ 16th straight — and the perfect conference record.
“Undefeated in any league you’re in is important, it’s something you’re going to treasure,” Kelley said after the Bulldogs’ 63-58 rollercoaster victory, much closer than their first meeting with Prep, a 69-48 blowout two weeks ago. “I thought we played well, we didn’t close well.”
For stretches throughout the game, it looked like it might not have gone all that differently from the Jan. 24 contest between the two. The Bulldogs, after being down 5-4 in the first quarter, ran off a 23-7 run to open up a 16-point lead midway through the second. Wolfe, after scoring the Little Hoyas’ first five points, hadn’t been able to get much help while Bullis’ Russell Sangster had rattled off 10 quick points on just four shots.
But, as has become the standard for this rivalry, Prep made it interesting. Behind some stellar play from Billah Abdul-Jalaal, the Little Hoyas whittled the lead to seven, then to five, then watched it balloon to 10 before cutting it back to six to begin the fourth.
“[Billah] had a terrific game,” said Prep coach Herb Krusen, who has now lost eight straight to the Bulldogs, including last year’s IAC championship. “I thought he was terrific … he was very good for us.”
But, with 1 minute, 7 seconds left and Bullis up 10 points, it seemed time had run out on the Little Hoyas. Then the 6-foot-9 Wolfe hit a free throw and missed the second but the ball went out of bounds on Bullis. He took the in-bounds pass, stepped back and buried a 3-pointer to draw within six. Thirty seconds later, following a Bulldog turnover, Alex Fabean-Scotch buried two free throws and then finished a coast-to-coast layup to cut the lead to two with 17 seconds left.
It would be Greenwood, however, who had the pleasure of silencing his former school. He hit both ends of a double-bonus opportunity which preceded Aaron Briggs knocking down another and the Bulldogs clung on for the win, perfect IAC season still intact.
“Our ultimate goal is to go undefeated, undefeated in the league,” Thompson said. “So that was our mindset this week.”
Bullis 63, Georgetown Prep 58
Bullis 18 13 15 17—63
Georgetown Prep 9 12 17 20—58
Bullis (21-4; 10-0): Anthony Thompson 22; Russell Sangster 13; Jamaal Greenwood 11; Winton Lyle 5; Aaron Briggs 5; Andre Walker 5; A.J. Metz 2.
Georgetown Prep (15-10; 7-3): Michael Wolfe 25; Billah Abdul-Jalaal 15; Kevin McDonald 8; Alex Fabean-Scotch 4; Alexander Lee 4; Travis Valmon 2.