Eagles turn it up, down Bullis; No. 1 McDonogh overcomes slow start to win, 70-51


The top-ranked McDonogh Eagles looked impatient and disorganized on offense for most of the first half yesterday afternoon when suddenly -- just like that -- click.

The second-quarter stretch, which featured crisp ball movement, strong inside play and hot shooting from the perimeter to go with aggressive play defensively, started with 3: 45 left and turned a three-point deficit against Bullis Prep into a 15-point halftime lead.

The Eagles used a similar run at the end of the third quarter to put away their visitor from Washington, 70-51, improving to 21-0 and extending their winning streak to 39 games dating back to last season. Bullis Prep, ranked fifth in the Washington area, drops to 17-2.

"In the second quarter, we were in a little lax where we weren't very patient on offense, not using the clock very well," said McDonogh coach Katie Keating. "And then all of a sudden, it was like their intensity level just increased. It was kind of out of nowhere, all five of them just stepped up and everybody was into it. They played great basketball in the last four minutes of the first half."

Trailing 26-23, the Eagles twice got the ball inside to 6-foot-2 center Greichaly Cepero, who twice converted three-point plays. Katie Nelson (15 points) followed with a three; Jazmine Norton (10 points) added a jumper; Vicki Brick hit a three, then turned a steal into a layup before Mariah Daly closed it out with a jumper from the right corner at the buzzer.

After hitting just nine of their first 30 shots, the Eagles were seven of 11 in the last 3: 45 to take a 41-26 lead at the break.

"Coach [Keating] told us to take our time, move the ball around and make them work harder defensively," said Brick, who scored 21 points to go with nine rebounds, eight steals and four assists.

"When we did that, we got some wide-open shots. We also picked up our pressure defensively and stopped them a couple of times."

Bullis, with a sophomore-dominated roster, cut the McDonogh lead to 43-36 midway through the third quarter before the Eagles, behind six straight points from Brick, closed out the period on a 14-4 run.

"McDonogh is a well-disciplined team," said Bullis coach Wayne Ferrell. "They play with a lot of composure and I think that has a lot to do with having four seniors. It was a matter of inexperience going up against experience. We started to go outside of our game plans, putting up a couple of bombs, and a good, experienced team is going to exploit that."

Cepero scored 15 points, grabbed 12 rebounds with four steals and four assists. Aisha Mason contributed nine points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Monique Currie led Bullis with 17 points and seven rebounds.

Seniors Brick, Cepero, Mason and Norton played their last regular-season home game for the Eagles, who are two games away from a perfect regular season. They will visit Severn tomorrow and then travel to Maryvale on Tuesday.

"I don't know if it's important, but it certainly would be nice," said Keating of the opportunity to close the regular season undefeated. Pub Date: 1/31/99

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