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Bullis tops Georgetown Visitation in ISL girls’ basketball clash


Cameron Spinner waited just beyond the top of the arc, letting her teammates scrap for the rebound that was up for grabs. The Bullis junior watched patiently as her team came up with the offensive board and then kicked the ball out to the corner. It was then swung around to Spinner, who drained an open three-pointer, giving the Bulldogs their first lead late in the third quarter Thursday night in Potomac.

Bullis wouldn’t trail again in a 73-56 upset of the visiting No. 2 Cubs.

In the early going of the Independent School League game, the Bulldogs were being outworked. This is a Bullis team that is still finding its way, led by a first-year coach and featuring a new set of playmakers. So, it can take them some time to settle in.

They emerged from the halftime break with a new level of energy and effort, scoring as many points in the third quarter as they had in the first half.

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“We’re starting to get to a place where we’re a basketball program,” said Justin Leith, who took over as Bullis athletic director and girls’ basketball coach this year. “It’s been a lot about culture-building so far. … It’s been a lot of teaching and talking about expectations.”

Spinner finished with 22 points, but the Bulldogs (9-5) were led in scoring by senior guard Riley Nelson. The Maryland commit, who transferred to Bullis this school year after making a name for herself at Clarksburg, scored 29 of her 35 points in the second half.

“I looked at my dad in the crowd before the second half and he didn’t say a word, which usually doesn’t happen,” Nelson said with a laugh. “That’s how I knew I needed to stop playing around and come out here and play better.”

Facing a tough and disciplined Visitation defense, Nelson scored in every which way in the third and fourth quarters. She hit five three pointers and made six free throws, attacking the rim and pulling up from deep in equal measure.

Georgetown Visitation (9-4) is the type of program that any ISL hopeful must beat to announce itself as legitimate. The Cubs won 13 straight conference titles from 2007 to 2019, displaced only last season by the emergence of Sidwell Friends as a national power.

On Thursday, Visitation played without injured senior star Fadima Tall. Still, the Cubs came out hot and led by four at halftime. The second half turned into a coming-out party for the Bulldogs.

“The second half was just a big adrenaline boost,” Spinner said. “It showed that we were ready to come out even harder and play with a belief that we’re always going to make our next shot.”

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