While Lake Braddock’s football team made its playoff run to the Virginia 6A North region semifinals last month, the basketball team began prepping in hopes of finding similar success on the hardwood this season. But with several Bruins doubling as football players and top forward Will Gregorits recovering from a toe injury, Coach Brian Metress often had just seven players at his disposal for preseason practice.
“By the time we started playing games, the coaches were tired because they had been the other three guys in practice,” Metress said. “We practiced 22 times before the football players came out, and we’re only on number 27 now because we had to play five games in nine days. So we knew we probably wouldn’t be as efficient as we might like in the first few games.”
Metress was right, sort of. The Bruins have bested their pace from a year ago, winning their first five games by an average margin of 31.2 points.
Credit for the Bruins’ fast start can be spread around as seven players are averaging more than five points per game, led by forwards Gregorits (16 points per game), Reagan Jones (14.4), John Nice (10.8) and A.J. Alexander (8.8), who earned All-Met football honors this fall.
“We can go 12 deep and everybody can score,” Gregorits said. “With three starters out during the preseason, there were other guys who had to step in and learn to score, and I think that’s helping us now and will help us more in the long run.”
Like Gregorits, many of the Bruins forwards possess the ability to score inside the paint and along the perimeter, which has helped the team average 80.6 points per game. On the defensive end, the Bruins have used their depth to swarm teams with full-court pressure, leading to turnovers and an elevated tempo.
“We’ve noticed going into halftime that after teams try to run with this, they might relax a little or wear down some in the second half,” Gregorits said, “but with our depth, we can keep bringing the pressure and eventually, teams can’t handle it.”
The Bruins look to continue their success this week when they host the three-round Glory Days Tournament of Champions, beginning Thursday with a 7:30 p.m. contest against McLean.
Such was the case Friday, when the Eagles trailed Battlefield by one point with less than one minute to play. Vargo spread out to the wing, received a pass from senior Marcus Huff and sized up his defender.
“The dude, I couldn’t believe how far that guy was playing up on me,” Vargo said. “I saw that his right foot was past my whole body, so I just drove, threw a little floater up, and it went in.”
Osbourn won the game, 58-57, and now Vargo (20.2 points per game) and the Eagles stand at 5-2 heading into this week’s Westfield Bulldog Bash holiday tournament.