Some teams know that no matter how a game is going they have a run in them, the ability to rattle off a series of unanswered baskets to either crawl back into contention or distance themselves from an opponent.
What the No. 18 Georgetown Visitation girls have in reserve is not necessarily a flurry of points but a ready-to-tap well of experience, what with four senior guards in the starting lineup.
Their been-here-before nature was on display Thursday night in a crackling 72-67 home win over Bullis in a game that pitted teams with unbeaten ISL AA records. The victory marked the Cubs’ 11th in a row and makes the four-year varsity members 57-2 in the league the past four years.
“I’m a smart coach because I’ve got four very smart senior guards that play smart,” 17th-year Visitation Coach Mike McCarthy said. “Next year, I might not be as smart. I was very confident tonight because I see the determination on those four.”
Neither team led by more than four points until early in the fourth quarter, when in a 100-second span, the Cubs shot ahead by eight points when senior guards Kate Gillespie and Maddy Williams drove for baskets and Gillespie (31 points) nailed a deep three-pointer for a 61-53 lead with 4 minutes 59 seconds remaining.
Senior guard Kelsey Tillman, who will play soccer at Vanderbilt, scored her lone field goal about a minute later when her shot on a drive to the hoop spun in.
With the lead down to four in the final minute, Williams rebounded her own missed free throw and Tillman made all four of her foul shots in the final 21 seconds.
“We know how to play with each other really well,” said senior guard Kathleen Tabb, who sank her first three three-pointers, making her nine out of 10 from long range the past two games to that point. “We’re all really close and makes it a lot easier to play.”
“Five of the girls on the team I’ve played with since I was in fourth grade,” said Gillespie, a Holy Cross signee who last week became Visitation’s all-time leading scorer. “We’ve always been a really good passing team. From playing with each other so long we know where each other are going to be. We can anticipate where they’re going and make the pass before they’re even there, which can lead to wide-open layups or uncontested shots. I think that’s the difference for us.”
Gillespie finished 11-of-17 shooting for Visitation (16-4, 8-0). Williams added 15 points and eight assists. Senior center Libby Mosko, who will row crew at Cornell, had 10 rebounds to help somewhat neutralize Bullis sophomore post player Lynee Belton (15 points, 14 rebounds).
Bullis sophomore swingman Kirby Porter led the Bulldogs (15-5, 8-1) with 20 points. Senior swingman Taylor Jenkins, a South Alabama signee, added 15 and junior guard Brittany Jackson 11. The teams will meet again Feb. 18 at Bullis.
“It came down to which team made the fewest mistakes, and down the stretch, it was them,” said Bullis Coach Kira Orr, whose team had 38 points and one turnover at the half. “As the fourth quarter was winding down, they were very smart, seasoned, experienced team.”