The urge gripped Georgetown Visitation senior guard Taylor Delgado at about 11 p.m. Sunday. It was time to find a lighted outdoor court near her Vienna home to work on her shot. Her father, Ed, went along to rebound.
Delgado, who had been struggling from the perimeter, found her form under the lights, and it carried over into Monday, when she drilled six three-pointers, including five in the second half, to help lead the Cubs to a 75-58 home win over No. 17 Bullis.
The team with two seniors that entered the season an underdog to win its seventh consecutive Independent School League AA regular season title now sits alone atop the league standings, although Visitation must play at Bullis on Feb. 19.
The Cubs (17-6, 10-1) trailed 28-18 midway through the second quarter, but scored 14 of the period’s last 17 points before halftime, taking a one-point lead on a three-pointer by junior forward Sarah Tierney, who scored 24 points, more than doubling her season high.
Bullis junior forward Lynee Belton scored 19 of her team-high 23 points in the first half but encountered foul trouble in the second. In the third quarter, there were five lead changes and three ties before Visitation went on a 12-0 run, capped by a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Delgado, to take the lead for good.
“The first half I felt like we were just hanging on,” Visitation Coach Mike McCarthy said. “I felt we could beat them in a close game maybe, with the firepower that they have. I would never have imagined what we did in the third quarter. I knew we had to do two things, rebound and hit shots, and we did both.”
Both Bullis (15-5, 9-2) and Visitation lost last week to Georgetown Day but entered Monday night’s game tied for first in the league. Early on, it looked like the Bulldogs would take a step toward ending the Cubs’ ISL AA reign.
“Our rotation was not that quick, and we should have been just a little bit quicker,” Belton said of her team’s defense. She said of the upcoming rematch: “We can’t leave anyone open. Those loose balls that are 50-50, we have to get them and we have to limit our turnovers.”
Delgado worked over the weekend with McCarthy, who urged her to shoot high and soft on the rim. Then came the late-night session.
“I was like, ‘Dad, you want to go shoot?’ and he was up off his feet like a little kid,” Delgado said. “Usually it’s my dad’s idea, but this time it was mine. I just felt like last night was definitely necessary.
“The past couple of games I’ve kind of been off,” added Delgado, who has 48 three-pointers this season. “I think that once I miss a couple I kind of get in my own head. I knew that I needed it for this game, and it looks like it worked out.”