LARGO – Despite only getting 21 minutes of playing, Largo High School forward Abdulai Bundu dominated as he led his team to a 63-49 win over Friendly High School. Largo head coach Lewis Howard had to limit Bundu’s playing time because of foul trouble, but the senior still notched a double-double with 18 points and […]
LARGO – Despite only getting 21 minutes of playing, Largo High School forward Abdulai Bundu dominated as he led his team to a 63-49 win over Friendly High School.
Largo head coach Lewis Howard had to limit Bundu’s playing time because of foul trouble, but the senior still notched a double-double with 18 points and 17 rebounds while also contributing two blocks on defense.
“You play the game. Styles are different, but you always have to play the game to the fullest potential. If he’s eligible to play, he’s eligible to play,” Howard said.
Bundu started off slow, while the player he was guarding, Friendly forward Karon Green, started the game with five points, four rebounds and three steals in the first quarter.
Led by Green, the Patriots jumped out to a quick lead with baskets on their first three possessions. However, the Lions came back and took a 9-8 and never trailed again. The Lions forced 19 turnovers from the Patriots which resulted in 21 points on offense.
Largo’s full-court defense played a key role in getting the win, Bundu said.
“They have shaky ball-handlers and we knew that coming in,” Bundu said.
The Lions consider themselves a defensive team, Howard said, and their defense normally leads to easy scores on the offensive end. No sequence made that more apparent than one in the third quarter of the game when the Lions were starting to pull away.
First, on offense, Bundu sealed his man off under the rim and hit a turnaround hook shot. Friendly pushed the ball forward on offense, but Bundu came down the floor and blocked guard Jordan Hill’s shot. Bundu then ran back on the other end and scored a bucket as he got fouled.
During the series of plays, Bundu scored five points and snatched two rebounds less than two minutes into the second half.
Throughout the night the Patriots used a number of different zone schemes to try and stop Bundu, regularly stacking two and three players him. The team started off with a 2-3 zone look where the guards would slide back off of the perimeter and keep a body in from of Bundu to prevent easy entry passes. Then, later in the game, the Patriots started fronting the post in an attempt to take Bundu out of the game. No matter what the coverage, though, Bundu found a way to get his hands on the ball, make the right plays and impact the game for his team.
“Every team starts doubling and tripling me and it opens up the whole game for my team,” Bundu said. “My teammates are able to do what they do because most people focus on me most of the time. So that allows our team to execute our entire offense. Everywhere I go they go, so somewhere on the court is open for my teammates.”
Bundu’s teammates found themselves open on the perimeter all night long. The Lions attempted 17 3-pointers in the game.
For Friendly, Green tried to shoot in Bundu’s face and had some success, finishing with 17 points, seven rebounds and three steals. But most of his production came too late, as the Patriots were only held to 10 points in the third quarter and never pulled to closer than 14 points from the Lions.
Bundu said Green’s aggressiveness did not bother him because he trusts the defense to do its job.
“With other bigs, I’m going to play defense when they try to score,” Bundu said. “(Green) kind of tried to go at me early. I get that all the time. Guys try to talk trash to me, but I’m not a trash talker. I let my game do the talking. I didn’t play as well as I wanted today, but that doesn’t matter to me. We won the game and that’s all that matters. I’m a team player. I just wanted to win.”