Sidwell Boys’ Basketball Season Recap

While the Sidwell Friends Girls’ Basketball team has stood in the national spotlight for most of the winter season, the Boys’ Varsity Basketball team has also been dominant in league play, as well as in non-conference matchups. The team finished 24-1 in the regular season, going undefeated in MAC conference play. Sidwell has ascended to the No. 29 rank in the nation per MaxPreps and held the No. 1 seed in the MAC tournament. The team capped off their stellar regular season with flawless playoff runs, defeating St. Andrews and Wilson on the biggest stage to take home both MAC and DCSAA titles.

To open the season, Sidwell competed in the Sleepy Thompson Tournament hosted by St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes. They made their way to the finals before suffering their sole loss of the season to Archbishop Caroll, losing after a buzzer-beating three-pointer sent the game to overtime. 

Sidwell quickly bounced back, however, with a dominant win at rival Maret, followed by a decisive 67-34 victory in the championship of the Mount Vernon High School Holiday Tournament. The team carried this momentum for the rest of the season, winning their final 22 games. 

Notable victories included a close 52-46 win against another nationally ranked program, Bishop McNamara, who is currently the No. 30 ranked team in the country and No. 1 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. Senior Chris Gamble and junior Cam Gillus combined for 30 points against McNamara. 

Another important game for the Quakers came against the 25-4 Wilson Tigers, where Sidwell won 48-32. Gillus added 15 points, along with solid contributions from the underclassmen, sophomore Caleb Williams and freshman Jalen Rougier-Roane. Sidwell stifled the highly touted Tiger’s offense to a mere seven points in the first half. 

While the Quakers have been solid on offense, the team’s real strength lies on the defensive side. Williams attributes this defensive success to Head Coach Eric Singletary’s tactics. 

“Our versatility on defense is the reason why we succeed. Coach Singletary’s game plan allows us to be comfortable with many styles of defense,” Williams said. Under Singletary, Sidwell can rapidly switch their defensive style rapidly, leaving the opposing offense tentative and unsure. 

Williams also gave credit to the team’s persistence, noting how great the team chemistry is and its contribution to team effort. 

After a brief period where no fans could attend during most of January, Sidwell supporters returned to the stands with enthusiasm. 

Senior Night celebrations on Feb. 11 further lifted spirits, as the Quakers trounced MAC rival GDS. Sidwell displayed its defensive prowess, holding the Hoppers to a mere 25 points. Offensively, the Quakers shared the scoring. Seniors George Perkins and Gamble added 10 and six points, respectively, while Gillus scored 10. 

With a first-round bye in the MAC tournament, Sidwell began their playoff run in the semifinals with a 64-43 win against Potomac. In the finals Sidwell matched up against St. Andrews, a team Sidwell had already defeated in the regular season. After a slow start and entering the second quarter down two, Sidwell’s offense came to life, regaining the lead en route to a 56-38 victory, securing the MAC Championship. With their win against St. Andrews, the team became both regular season and tournament champions.

The DCSAA playoffs were a similar story. The Quakers opened with a commanding 63-35 win against Friendship Tech in the quarterfinals, which they followed up by a 49-41 victory against the St. John’s Cadets. Sidwell faced off against Wilson in the finals hoping to repeat their victory four years prior in the 2019 DCSAA finals. 

With 5:52 remaining in the final quarter, Wilson held a ten point lead. But Sidwell was not finished, and they fought back to cut their deficit to 45-44 with 6.6 seconds remaining. The Quakers were given the ball with 5.5 secondes left and the opportunity to repeat the storybook victory of 2019. Gamble attempted a three-pointer, which Williams put off the backboard after counting down the seconds in his head, securing a buzzer beater victory for Sidwell and their second DCSAA crown. Williams earned MVP with a game-high 20 points and 12 rebounds.

Williams noted the importance of humility when facing these tough opponents, stating that “the only team that can beat us is ourselves.” The MAC and DCSAA banners hanging in the athletic center are a testament to the team’s resolve and the success of the 2021-2022 season.