By Tadi Abedje
On February 15th, the Sidwell Friends Quakers (19-6) defeated the St. Andrew’s Episcopal Lions (16-8) on their home court, 58-33, on its Senior Night. This conference game between two of the Top 10 ranked teams in DC started strong, but was a non-competitive contest from the second quarter on.
In the first quarter, both squads exchanged defensive-less layups by their senior players,
Episcopal’s Heru Bligen and Sidwell Francis’ Elijah Williams, set up as an exposition by the teams’ head coaches. Then, Senior Jason Gibson scored the Quakers’ first contested bucket on a driving layup. Teammate Jack Lewis had a cutting layup off a pass by Nick Lewis before Heru Bligen would score the Lions’ next seven points (including two free throws and an and-one).
Afamdi Achufusi scored on a cutting layup for the Quakers. Jack Lewis would make Sidwell
Friends’ first two foul shots of the game before Chris Gamble made the team’s three point shot from the left corner. Senior Dean Mazlish knocked down an open three pointer of a pass from Jason Gibson near the end of the first quarter. The Quakers led 16-9 after an exciting first quarter.
In the second quarter, Gibson would have another great pass to Afamdi Achufusi as he
made the bucket in traffic. Gibson drove and knocked down a jump shot from the left
elbow. He had another assist — this time to Spencer Tyson — for a layup, that would lead St. Andrew’s Episcopal to call their first timeout of the game.
Kamari Williams knocked down the Lions’ first three pointer of the contest. Dean Mazlish drove and had an impressive layup. However a few moments later, the Quakers called their own first timeout to talk some strategy. Afamdi Achufusi had a drive for a basket coming from the post. The Quakers outscored the Lions 10-4 in the period to extend their lead to 26-13 at the first half intermission.
When the second half began, Jason Gibson started off with a three pointer from the top of the key and two layups. Sidwell Friends extended their lead to 20 points which led St. Andrew’s Episcopal to call another timeout. Gibson would have another easy bucket while on the fast break. Walter Rouse was the first Quaker — not named Gibson — to score for the home team in the quarter. Jack Lewis came into the action with a fast break layup on his own.
Kamari Williams knocked down an open corner three pointer for the Lions. Dylan Edwards
would have a layup, as the Quakers called for time to stop the Lions’ momentum. Spencer Hayes was fouled on a jump shot and made one of two free throws before the period ended. Nevertheless, Sidwell Friends led 39-21 after three as their largest lead was 24 points.
In the fourth quarter, Heru Bligen started off with a layup in the paint. Then, Colin Smalls stole the ball and had an easy bucket. Walter Rouse made a basket of a pass from Jason Gibson. On the next possession, Gibson would make a driving layup, but missed an opportunity to complete the three point play. But on the next play, he would have basket while being fouled and make the free throw.
Nick Lewis made a driving layup for himself. Kamari Williams dunked… another highlight for the Lions. Dean Mazlish’s own highlight came as he made an up-and-under shot. Gibson, Mazlish, Walter Rouse, Nick and Jack Lewis would come out of the game with under a minute remaining and receive a standing ovation from the home crowd for the last time.
“It’s a true epitome of the program when you got guys who came up from the JV, you got guys who played for me in middle school,” Quakers head coach Eric Singletary said. “So you can see the culmination of that kind of buy-in from these kids is not just a recycle, where you get all new players. I’ve known these guys for a long time. I couldn’t be more proud of the effort they put in, not only today but all season.”
Gibson would led the Quakers in scoring with 20 points and dished out some great assists while playing his heart out. “I just came out here every night just trying to do the best I can. It’s never about myself. It’s always playing for the school, the front of the jersey, and the people who played behind me. So that’s really all it was,” said the senior.
Additionally, Dean Mazlish and Afamdi Achufusi each had eight points. For St. Andrew’s
Episcopal, Heru Bligen led them with 11 points.
Sidwell Friends will participate in the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament starting Thursday, February 21, 2019.