Entering this season, Bullis senior Aaron Briggs’s prowess as a three-point shooter was known among opponents and college recruiters alike. But after three years playing off the ball, the 6-foot-1 guard’s ball-handling skills were less established.
Saturday, in a key Interstate Athletic Conference clash with No. 15 St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes, Briggs knocked down consecutive fourth-quarter three-pointers. Then, with the Saints trying to claw their way back from a double-digit deficit, he drove past his defender to the basket and dropped a smooth bounce pass to Jamal Greenwood, who finished the play with a strong layup.
The seventh-ranked Bulldogs dominated down the stretch, using a 14-2 run in the final minutes to claim a 66-49 victory in Potomac.
“We have a team of guys who care, and the coaches care so you see a progression,” Bruce Kelley said of Briggs’s improved ball handling as a senior. “Quite honestly, you kind of expected him to play like this because it’s his time. He’s been clamoring for three years he wants it, and now it’s his time.”
Briggs, a Navy recruit, finished with a team-high 18 points and shot 5 for 6 from three-point range. As a team the Bulldogs (15-3, 3-0 IAC) shot 10 for 18 from behind the arc after a rough first period.
Bullis held just two practices during a week full of snow and school cancellations, and the Bulldogs showed rust early, scoring just five points in the opening period.
“Coach told us to calm down. It was a big game and there was a lot of people out there,” said Greenwood, who finished with 10 points. “He told everybody to take a deep breath and relax and just play your game.”
Bullis did just that, playing tough zone pressure defense, and Andre Walker was a stalwart inside, posting five blocks. The Hofstra recruit finished the night with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Walker was matched up with St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes forward and Loyola recruit Cam Gregory for the most of the night, and he was impressive inside, scoring with an array of moves to finish with a game-high 27 points.
The Saints (10-5, 2-1) led after the first quarter but Bullis pulled ahead on an Austin Brown three-pointer with less than two minutes remaining in the second. St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes never regained the lead.