Sidwell Friends Shocks Wilson In DCSAA Title Game

WASHINGTON D.C. – Sidwell Friends School senior Dean Mazlish had the ball in his hands with six and a half seconds left and down two points against defending District of Colombia State Athletic Association champion Woodrow Wilson and shocked the DMV hoops scene when he launched the game-winner over senior Romaro Hutchinson.

“We threw it in down court and they were pressing so there wasn’t enough time to run the play,” Mazlish said, “I came down I saw the clock had like, three seconds and I knew I had to improvise. Went behind my back, saw the guy kinda just, take a step back so I had to pull -up.

The Quakers won their first ever DCSAA title Sunday night over the Tigers, 63-62. Guard Jason Gibson led all scorers with 24 points, and forward Jack Lewis contributed 18 points of his own. Junior wing Dimingus Stevens scored a team-high 21 points and was followed up by senior Boston College-commit Jay Heath and his 17-point performance.

Sidwell was able to grab a eight-point lead early in the second quarter off a Gibson 3-pointer and if Wilson didn’t unleash a 10-0 run, including a breakaway dunk and back-to-back 3-pointers Stevens, the Quakers looked like they were primed to extend their lead to double-figures. Following a pair of free-throws from senior Carlos Dunn to give the Tigers a 27-26 lead with seconds to spare in the first half, Mazlish was able to take back a one-possession lead when he nailed a 3-pointer right before the buzzer sounded off.

Wilson came out in the second half and after initially trading buckets early on, reeled off a 12-3 run that culminated in a 44-35 lead after a pair of Stevens free throws. The Quakers gradually battled back and took the lead late when Gibson went on a personal 13-6 run and took a two-point late within a minute of the game. Heath responded when he got to the lane, drew a foul, and then sunk two free throws to tie the game up. Both programs had a final chance to hit a game-winner but Gibson’s shot was too strong, while Heath’s desperation from beyond half-court fell shot. The pair of missed shots forced an unexpected overtime at 53-all.

One development the crowd and coaches were interested in was the fact that the trio of Carlos Dunn and Mitchell twins (University of Maryland-commits Makhi and Mahkel) fouled out within the closing minutes of regulation.

“Words can’t describe how I feel right now,” Gibson said, “ my seniors came (up) big for me when I fouled out and I can’t ask for a better group of guys.”

During overtime, the Tigers took the first of the extra period off a Stevens layup, but gave up six straight points including a Gibson to Lewis dime for a 3-pointer that gave the Quakers a 59-55 lead midway through overtime. Wilson responded sinking four free throws in their subsequent possessions, but Gibson drew one more foul but then fouled out the next Tigers possession with 39 seconds left. The Tigers were able to get one more stop and looked to cement their win when Dimingus Stevens caught a Heath pass in stride and layed the ball up to make it 62-60. Tigers head coach Angelo Hernandez called a timeout immediately after with just over six seconds left while it looked like Lewis sunk a possible buzzer beater. Although the shot was waived off, Malzin caught the ball out of the timeout and sunk the Tigers on an incredible dagger 3-pointer with the clock hitting zeroes.

“This amazing,” Mazlish said after climbing the ladder to get his piece of basketball net twine, ”This is the best way to get out.”

Another Stunner! Gonzaga Upends PVI for Berth at the ‘Chip Versus SJC.

Another Stunner! @GonzagaHoops Upends PVI Thanks to @Cth23Chuck , @StuteMyles , @Devin2__ and @iamjodybreeze For A Chance At The WCAC ‘Chip vs @SJCBoysHoops

WASHINGTON D.C. – Washington D.C. – The WCAC descended once again on American University for their annual playoff to determine their conference champion this past weekend. After a long regular season, the final four teams remaining were DeMatha Catholic High School, Paul VI Catholic High School, Gonzaga College High School, and St. John’s College High School. The winners of these two games will advance to play for the championship on Monday.

After a stunning () the crowd at AU was clamoring for the second game between no. 2 seed PVI and no. 3 seed Gonzaga. Gonzaga pulled off the second upset of the day, prevailing 63-55 and have the right to face off against SJC for the conference crowd. Junior Chuck Harris scored a game-high 17 points and handed out three assists, followed up by double-digit performances by forward Myles Stute(14 points and 12 rebounds), freshman Devin Dinkins (12 points), and senior Anwar Gill (10 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds). Freshman point guard Knasir “Dug” Williams led PVI with 12 points, while wing Josiah Freeman and sophomore Avery Ford each contributed 11 points.

“For our kids to gut out, we were down what, (13)? 13-point comeback to win against one of the best teams in the league all year,” Gonzaga head coach Stephen Turner said, “I’m just proud for them and their opportunity to go out tomorrow night and have a chance to bring home a championship.”

In any conference, it’s hard to beat any team three times in a row. In a conference like the WCAC, widely regarded as the best high school basketball conference in the country, it’s nearly impossible. However, PVI seemed like they would scoff at that notion, building a 13 point edge by the end of the half behind a balanced offensive onslaught, sophomores Avery Ford and  Trevor Keels dominated with 16 points at the half, relying on the physical drives of Keels and finesse of Ford to build their lead. A 3-2 zone that Gonzaga had trouble adjusting too also played a large roll in forcing the Purple Eagles were unable to execute as they traditionally do and the Panthers to walk into the half up 35-22.

That all changed in the second half when Gonzaga was able to neutralize the threat of Keels and forced everybody else to make plays. The revitalized defensive effort by Gonzaga forced PVI into scoring just 18 points the rest of the way. The Purple Eagles patiently chipped away at the deficit, being able to whittle down the lead to four by the end of the third quarter. By midway into the final frame, Gonzaga knotted the game up, 46-all, when Chuck Harris fed Dinkins on the left wing for a 3-pointer. That was the impetus to a 10-run that ended with three straight trips to the free throw line for Stute as he fought off PVI wings and forwards for several rebounds.  The gritty sequence by the junior provoked a smirk and flex moment as he soaked in cheers from the Gonzaga student section.

“Just felt good,” Stute said, “I was in my rhythm, affecting the game in different ways other than scoring, getting rebounds, getting to the line. When I got to the line, I knew I had to convert.”

PVI wasn’t done however, they went off on a 7-0 run and cut the Purple Eagles, 56-55, after Freeman nailed 3-pointer. That would be as close as PVI would get, Gonzaga ended the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run that ended all doubts for the Panthers. Harris finished a pair of three-point plays, smiling and letting out a loud “Let’s Go” after converting the second and-1. Forward Terrance Williams shot the final free throws of the game and secured the improbable Gonzaga win.

“ We just came out and played our hardest from the jump,” Harris said, “ We knew PVI was going to be a tough opponent and just had the best of them tonight.”

Athletes Have A Voice, Too

When unfathomable tragedy occurs in our world, fans have come to expect entertainers to reach out to their fan base and address these events through social media, interviews or music. Comedians, radio personalities, actors, musicians, and tv talk show hosts alike are begged to use their influence to express their concerns. Whether right or wrong millions of fans hang on the word of their favorite celebrities.

Whenever an athlete speaks out on something such as police brutality they’re immediately rebuked for it. Instead of applauding the athlete, fans will tell them “Stick to (insert sport here), not political statements,” as if being a professional athlete somehow equals absence of intelligence. It incorrectly assumes that the gift of their athletic ability precludes their ability to exercise their first amendment right. Many of these individuals parlayed being great athletes into college scholarships. If they decided to leave school early, they took summer courses and graduated at a later time. For example, NFL players such as Ben Roethlisberger, Emmitt Smith, and Troy Polamalu went back to school in the offseason and finished their degrees. In the NBA, popular names like Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan, and Vince Carter made time to graduate college. Curtis Granderson, JJ Putz, and THE Bo Jackson are part of the short list of MLB players (34) with a college degree. Contrary to popular belief, there is a large group of professional athletes dedicated to not only their specific sport craft, but also their education.

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Athletes have just as large if not bigger platform on social media as other non-athlete celebrities. Even before the internet and smartphones existed, black athletes were welcomed by the Civil Rights movement and they actively did their part to stand up for what they believed in. Pioneers like Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Bill Russell, Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis, Kurt Floyd, Hank Aaron, Paul Robeson, Althea Gibson, Wilma Rudolph, Dick Allen, Curt Flood, Craig Hodges, Magic Johnson, Arthur Ashe, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, all of them did precisely that. These activist legends all fought to make a change and their impact is still felt today. They fought for integration in their sports, battled constant racism at games and events, protested against wars, religious views, job growth, HIV/Aids advocacy, plight of POC in general, and women’s rights as well.

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Superstars today have those pioneers to thank for greater equality in sports and endorsements. Nowadays athletes have a wider platform from which to speak, thanks to social media. On any given day, a fan could see their favorite player or runner post pictures, videos, and tweets creating conversation on social issues. LeBron James tweeting or posting pictures talking about Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, or Trayvon Martin reaches the world faster than ever before. Serena Williams can watch a video of a police officer killing an innocent black man and tweet about her anguish and it could be reposted and retweeted by millions of people – it’s more effective than holding press conferences. Athletes across the board make the political statements: they wear shirts with slogans on it, make political gestures, or attend protests. Although it can be controversial to do so, athletes at all levels can and do make statements. Whether high school, college, or professional these gifted people have the right to free speech to spark changes. To expect or allow only certain celebrities to address socio-political issues and attempt to hush the voices of athletes is simply un-American. Some of these athletes, having grown up surrounded by a measure of plight and violence themselves and having achieved despite the odds against them may be equipped with a heightened ability to relate and convey a message that is stronger and more positive than others. Not saying there aren’t actors or musicians or entertainers who have lived in the grime of the country, but there shouldn’t be any exclusivity in who gets to say what.

At the end of the day, everyone must recognize that we live in a scary world. Of course all lives matter, there isn’t a single human life that is not precious. However, to say All Lives Matter is like taking away the voices of people who are still fighting to be treated the same as everyone else. The whole Black Lives Matter movement started because black lives are being taken away and black families are being destroyed due to a political system and culture that has created fear and hatred for black lives.No lives matter until people of color can stop worrying about being accosted and aggressively approached solely based on their appearance. No lives matter until hate groups are eradicated. Everyone’s opinions and perspectives, including those of the athletes must be respected and listened to in order to create a new system that welcomes equality for all men and women.