By Robert Bettmann
Led by senior forward Saddiq Bey and junior guard Jason Gibson, the Sidwell Friends boys basketball team posted an impressive 71-53 victory over Bullis Jan. 6 in non-league play.
Sidwell had lost four in a row, and the IAC/MAC Challenge gave the Quakers a chance to get back on track against a strong opponent. Head Coach Eric Singletary, in his 10th year with the team, appreciated his squad’s performance.
“Saddiq Bey showed tremendous leadership, took the challenge today. When we get that kind of performance out of Saddiq we’re hard to beat,” he said.
Bey, who has committed to play at NC State next year, helped set the tone early with seven of his 18 points coming in the first quarter. Gibson then took over when play lagged in the second, dropping in nine of his 16 points in that quarter, resulting in a 29-24 Sidwell lead at the half.
Bey was modest about his role with the team.
“We wanted to come out and try and dominate the game early, battle early,” he said. “I just wanted to give us what we needed.”
After the game’s early minutes, Gibson was the engine driving the offensive train for Sidwell. His confidence on the ball and spot up shooting was not matched by the Bullis players. Gibson showed great vision as a passer while running the offense, and also his ability to get to the hole and completing his own drives to the basket.
Gibson was similarly sanguine about the win, and his role in it.
“It was big for us to come out and get this win, having lost the last four,” Gibson said. “Especially for me and Saddiq. We have to show up every time. I know that if I stay composed and under control it will help my team.”
Singletary was more effusive about Gibson’s play.
“Jason is a terrific player,” he said. “He is multi-dimensional, can handle the ball, and obviously shoots the ball well.“
Bullis came out flat-footed in the third, allowing Sidwell to put up a 20-point quarter and an eventual 71-53 victory.
Sidwell’s team defense, including 6-foot-6 junior Walter Rouse, was relatively precise against the athletic, but slighter, Bullis squad. Rouse also finished with eight points.
“Sidwell played tremendous,” Bullis Coach Bruce Kelley said. “Eric had his team playing tremendous basketball. The basic thing with our activity, with any activity, you just have to compete. We just have to compete. And they outworked us.”
An injury kept Bullis’ 7-foor-6 senior Watari Mountari – a nephew of NBA legend Dekembe Motumbo – from suiting up for the game, but Bullis, the defending IAC champs, still have an overall 10-4 record.
Sidwell’s overall record is now 5-5, however on this night it was the dominant team.