With 12 seconds remaining in the game and Landon down by three points everyone in the gymnasium knew who was going to get the ball. It was Joe McDonald time. McDonald had played a tremendous game up to that point. Everyone in the gym was shocked at why McDonald didn't get a touch when his team needed him most. A timeout was called by the Landon coaching staff with just under six seconds remaining -- Landon had no time-outs remaining. A technical foul was assessed to Landon head coach Andy Luther.
Bullis' Nigel Pruitt, who committed to Kennesaw State earlier this week stepped up to the line and converted one of two free throws to make it a two possession game and give Bullis the four point victory. Pruitt, who did not start and checked in to the game for the first time with just under four minutes remaining in the first quarter, played a tremendous all around game. Anthony Thompson played a great game as well, nailing four of four free throws in the final minute to keep the Bullis lead in tact. But Landon kept fighting back. They used a Deion Wellington three point play with 1:12 remaining in the fourth to cut a five point lead to two. After two Thompson free throws Landon's Hank Brown nailed 3-pointer to cut the lead to one with 15 seconds remaining. After Thompson again nailed a pair of free throws Landon called their last time out of the game. As Landon brought the ball up the court, McDonald was being harassed off the ball and couldn't free himself and with 5.6 seconds remaining one of the referees blew his whistle. Play stopped and the ref didn't make a call. Everyone was staring his way waiting for the call. After a few seconds of hesitation he pointed to the Landon bench, granting their wish for a time-out. Landon players were infuriated, everyone in the gym confused, and Pruitt walked towards the line, eager to put another victory in Bullis' back pocket. It was a mistake you would never expect out of a coach. The coach is the one always alerting his players as to how many timeouts they have remaining. But everyone is human, even a coach can make a mistake.
Bullis was fortunate to get the win. They trailed the entire first half, and were down double digits at one point. Joe McDonald had 10 first quarter points and Landon's Addison Sarter had a huge dunk that got the crowd going bananas. The gym was packed to capacity, over 1000 people in a gym that seats close to 600. It was a tremendous ball game. Bullis made their move in the third quarter to take a lead but Landon kept fighting. It was back and forth in the fourth until Bullis finally took the lead for good half way through the quarter. Joe McDonald led all scorers with 26. McDonald doesn't force the action either. He is not a volume shooter, rather an effective scorer who shoots a high percentage from the field, makes his way to the line often, and always finds the right man when he commands the double team. He has full confidence in his teammates and has a tremendous feel for the game.
On the other side Nigel Pruitt is the real deal. He is one of the more versatile players in the DMV. At 6'7'' he can handle the ball and is money from beyond the arc. But his inside play is where he really creates mismatch problems. He's a solid defender who really doesn't have a weakness on the high school level. And he has a great team around him. Thompson is one of the best pass first pure points in the area. He is incredible at driving to the rack, drawing a double team and finding the open man. He uses his quickness advantage almost every time he touches the ball and has an incredible motor. The rest of the Bullis team is on point as well. It's going to be in incredible game should they play Episcopal in the IAC finals.