UPPER MARLBORO – Friendly High School’s Jules Bikoy put up a dominating performance against Grace Brethren Christian School.
The senior guard scored a game-high 20 points as the Patriots defeated the Eagles 66-60 on Jan. 20 as part of the HoopBuzz Challenge showcase.
Despite a quick start by both teams, they halted any momentum with their defensive play. Grace Brethren (8-9) employed a 2-3 zone defense that neutralized the Patriots’ ability to drive into the paint, causing Friendly to shoot most of its shots from the perimeter.
The Patriots (3-4) went with a traditional man-to-man defense and used their length as an advantage over the smaller Eagle players.
All of Friendly’s points from the first quarter came from 3-point range. Friendly forward Michael Johnson scored the first basket of the game from the left corner of the arc while Bikoy added two more to end the first quarter with a 9-6 lead.
Sophomore guard Braxton Crumpton led the Eagles offensively and kept exchanging baskets with Bikoy as the Eagles fought back in the second quarter to tie the game at halftime.
Both teams implemented their versions of a full-court press to start the third quarter, which resulted in multiple turnovers and fouls.
Friendly entered the fourth quarter with a 42-40 lead and attempted to throw off the Eagles by switching to a 2-1-2 zone defense. The set-up forced Grace Brethren to attempt harder mid-range and perimeter shots during the final frame. The Patriots collected the majority of the missed opportunities and flipped them into easy points to extend their advantage.
Darius Thomas, a junior guard for the Eagles, hit two consecutive 3-pointers to pull Grace Brethren within six points with 30 seconds remaining. However, a Patriots layup in the dying moments ended any hopes of a comeback for the Clinton-based squad. Friendly finished with three players scoring in double figures, including 11 points by both Mondahle Daniels and Dwron Howell.
Friendly will look to build on the win against Douglass on Jan. 14, away to Potomac on Jan. 15 and at home against Surrattsville on Jan. 17.