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Georgetown Visitation basketball faces a challenge in Bullis

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Georgetown Visitation is in the odd position of being a six-time defending Independent School League AA champion but also the underdog to defend that title, having graduated its top three scorers from last year at a time when No. 9 Bullis returned seven of its top eight scorers.

Those teams could meet three times in the span of about two weeks if each reaches the ISL AA tournament final. They play Feb. 11 and Feb. 19 in regular season games.

“I think we feel like we’re the underdogs, but we also have some confidence,” said Georgetown Visitation Coach Mike McCarthy, whose team this week plays St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes and Georgetown Day. “We know how to win. So that helps us. We feel like we have nothing to lose. I think we’re playing better every day.”

McCarthy’s practices have been different this season, with more emphasis on fundamentals and less on intricacies. There are five freshmen on the team, among them point guard Alexis Gray.

A key moment for the Cubs (15-5, 8-0) occurred Jan. 27 against No. 3 St. John’s when they gave up the first 15 points of the game but steadied to lose by 11.

Senior guard Taylor Delgado has led the team at both ends of the floor and is averaging 13.7 ppg, adeptly supported by junior guards Ana Hagerup (10.2 ppg) and Alexis Bryant (8.2 ppg).

Sophomore forward Kate Delaney and junior forward Sarah Tierney, who recently returned from a knee injury, both average about seven points. Tierney scored 10 in the first half in a win at Flint Hill on Saturday night.

“I thought [Delgado] would have a good year, but she’s had a great year,” McCarthy said. “She was in the shadows of [All-Met] Kate Gillespie and Maddy Williams for a couple of years and now she’s had her chance. It’s been fun to watch.”

Episcopal has won six straight

Episcopal has not yet played ISL A front-runner National Cathedral, and that delay might be good for the Maroon, which has needed some time to settle its back court.

Episcopal (11-4, 5-1) has won six straight headed into its games against Potomac School and Maret this week. The games against National Cathedral are Feb. 13 and Feb. 19.

“The kids have just really hit their stride a little bit,” Episcopal Coach Mady Gobrecht said. “Our guards have figured out how to handle the pressure. The more wins they’re getting, the more pumped they’re getting.”

Last week the Maroon avenged earlier losses to Holy Child and St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes, thanks in part to scoring more in transition. The guards, namely senior Haley Lyerly and sophomore Ivy Houde, know if they get beat that 6-foot-3 junior center Rennie Harrison will be waiting.

Harrison, the team’s only year-round player, has a scholarship offer from Richmond and interest from several other schools. Lyerly will play at Suwanee next season. Houde has scored a season-high 16 points in each of her last two games.

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