Bullis sur­vives late rally to claim IAC

BULLIS 62, G’TOWN PREP 60

The Washington Post Sunday - - ALLMETSPORTS.COM - IN­TER­STATE ATH­LETIC CON­FER­ENCE BAS­KET­BALL FI­NAL BY JA­COB BOGAGE ja­cob.bogage@wash­post.com

While the ball hung in the air, Vado Morse’s thoughts swung back and forth. Yes, that shot — An­thony Scafide’s one-handed, sidearm heave at the buzzer — is fall­ing. The spin looks good, the arc is true, and No. 18 Ge­orge­town Prep will have erased a 15-point sec­ond-half deficit to stun Morse’s Bullis Bull­dogs in the In­ter­state Ath­letic Con­fer­ence ti­tle game.

But no, Morse thought. It can’t. Scafide wasn’t even look­ing at the rim when he slung the ball, but it sailed near the hoop any­way.

“I thought he made it,” Morse said. “I was about to cry.”

It caught the left side of the rim, rolled around and fi­nally spilled out, just like the Bullis fans who sprung from their seats and onto the court. Bullis held on for a 62-60 win over the Lit­tle Hoyas on Satur­day night in Po­tomac.

The Bull­dogs split the reg­u­lar sea­son ti­tle with the Lit­tle Hoyas. They won the tour­na­ment crown out­right in an in­stant clas­sic.

“It’s a sur­real feel­ing,” se­nior for­ward Chyree Walker said.

Bullis (19-6) vaulted ahead in the sec­ond quar­ter on a 16-0 run. Sopho­more guard Phillip Smith came off the bench hot and had 11 points in the pe­riod, in­clud­ing eight straight in one stretch that fea­tured a three-pointer, a layup in traf­fic and an­other triple.

“The shot felt good to­day,” he said, “but we’ve been work­ing all year for this.

The Bull­dogs came from three points down to take a 35-22 lead. The mar­gin bal­looned to 15 in the fourth quar­ter on an ac­ro­batic re­verse layup from Morse, who led the team with 16 points.

But then the Lit­tle Hoyas (20-6) made a run.

“We knew they were go­ing to make a push the whole game,” Bullis ju­nior guard Lin­coln Yeut­ter said.

The ques­tion was when. Prep forced Bullis Coach Bruce Kel­ley into an early time­out af­ter a seven-point spree in the first quar­ter.

“No one needed to be the hero,” Morse said. “Stick to the game plan and ex­e­cute.”

That early push wasn’t it, though. The Lit­tle Hoyas outscored Bullis 19-6 in the game’s fi­nal six min­utes. Ju­nior guard Mezie Of­fu­rum sank a pair of free throws with 24 sec­onds left to tie the game. Kel­ley put the ball in Morse’s hands to take a po­ten­tial game-win­ner, but his three­p­ointer rimmed out.

Morse jousted for the re­bound with ju­nior Jared Bynum — a mid­dle school team­mate and Morse’s self-de­scribed best friend — and came up with the ball while Bynum (game-high 26 points) com­mit­ted his fifth foul.

Two sec­onds re­mained. Morse made the first free throw, and Kel­ley told him to miss the sec­ond on pur­pose so time would ex­pire.

“But he’s never pur­pose­fully missed a free throw in his life,” Kel­ley said.

In­stead the sec­ond shot banked in, and Prep in­bounded with a chance to tie or win the game. But Scafide got spun around at mid­court and chucked a prayer from 50 feet away that just missed and trig­gered the Bull­dogs’ cel­e­bra­tion.

PHO­TOS BY DOUG KAPUSTIN FOR THE WASH­ING­TON POST

TOP: Bullis won the IAC tour­na­ment championship af­ter shar­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son ti­tle with Ge­orge­town Prep. ABOVE: Se­nior Chyree Walker, left, helped Bullis take a 15point lead in the fourth quar­ter.

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