Some say the playoffs are the start of a team’s second season, so perhaps that’s why Lake Braddock Coach Brian Metress figured last week would be the perfect time to implement a new scheme and style.
No longer would the Bruins employ the up-tempo style that led them to a 14-7 record entering the Virginia AAA Patriot District tournament. Instead, Metress elected to slow things down with plays that called for careful execution.
“We decided to play a little slower and more patient and made the games into white knucklers,” Metress said. “If you’re the lower seed, playing slower sometimes moves the pressure to the higher seed team, and with (W.T.) Woodson having run away with the league, we wanted to switch things up.”
The change worked, as fourth-seeded Lake Braddock upset Woodson, 57-54, in the semifinals Thursday before downing South County, 50-40, to win the district crown on Friday. Will Gregorits had a team-high 19 points in the semifinal victory, justifying the excitement he showed when the Bruins’ new offense was unveiled.
“We all kind of perked up when Coach Metress told us we were doing something new,” the junior forward said. “And for me and A.J. [Alexander], we saw that we had a lot of chances to go one-on-one inside and get scoring opportunities, so we were excited.”
Gregorits also lauded the play of Lake Braddock’s guards, who minimized the team’s turnovers with sound passes and decision-making within the slower offensive sets.
“All credit goes to the players because we’re a young team and we didn’t have much time to prepare, so they had to believe they could do it,” Metress said. “But they were looking for solutions just like we were as coaches, and as the [Woodson] game wore on and we had the lead, we gained more confidence.”
As one of four top seeds, the Bruins will open play in the Northern Region tournament Monday when they host Stuart.