"It's All About The Game"

Experience and Golden lead to MAC title






Robert Stephens-Featured Reporter

St. James gets it done in MAC 'chip game.


February 29, 2016 - When St. James (MD) took on Sidwell Friends (DC) for the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference title yesterday, the tilt featured the former’s size versus Sidwell’s backcourt. During the season these teams split their games, leaving this ‘chip game of even greater interest.

While the bigs vs. littles battle was a factor, one St. James frontcourt guy consistently made plays all over the floor; Richmond-bound center Grant Golden went to work throughout the game - the second half particularly - pulling up for three on the break, getting to the cup, finding teammates and generally leading his team to victory. Multiple Sidwell charges were answered by St. James, with Golden being a catalyst and leader.

Grant Golden took over the game.

“We knew coming into their place it was going to be a close game” said Grant afterward, referring to this year’s MAC Tournament being hosted by Sidwell. “We were up early, and we knew they are going to cut it close, so Coach Pre (Dan Prete) told us to lead by example, lead the younger guys, and if we kept doing what we were doing that we would come out on top. And that’s just what we did”.

Sidwell’s leading scorer, junior guard Jelani Williams recognized Golden’s work, noting he and the other St. James upper classman “really took control”, while also admitting “we didn’t execute mentally in the beginning of the game”, in part due to being “excited”.

Though Williams had 23 points, he, and his teammates, struggled to score at times, largely attributed to St James’ 2-3 zone. Williams, who triggers the Quakers, was restricted from getting into the paint and making it happen.

“Early in the season were playing a lot of man, but we realized that we were so long” said Grant of embracing their zone scheme. “That 2-3 works for us, getting out to shooters and stuff. It really helped us with Jelani a little bit. But I think they were definitely frustrated with it a little bit”.

Grant’s brother and teammate, sophomore forward Bryce, led all scorers with 25 points – he was dominant in the first half. Freshman guard Jason Gibson had 14 points for Sidwell, while teammate, sophomore guard Saddiq Bey ended up with 10 points, including a trio of three balls.

For the victorious Maroon, two-thirds of their preseason team goal list has been realized.

“It’s been a great year” said Grant Golden. “We set out to win the IPSL and the MAC, and that’s what we did. We have one more tournament left, the SJIT up at our place in two weeks, and we’re going to try and win that too”.

2015-16 MAC champs, Sidwell Friends.

With senior leadership, a talented frontcourt as well as a zone that’s hard to handle, St. James (18-6) may make it three for three.

The season continues for Sidwell (16-9) tonight, when they travel crosstown for a 6p EST, DC State Athletic Association playoff (or ‘The 12’) matchup.

Recruiting Update

Bryce Golden – 6’7”, 230 pound sophomore forward, St. James, VA Elite – Golden goes hard to the rim, where he frequently finished. Is a rugged, frontcourt performer. Can clean the glass.

Needs to extend his shooting range, which he’s working on.
A source indicated Richmond, GW, Furman, Wofford, Rice and High Point have offered Bryce. UVA, Florida, Alabama, G’Town to a lesser degree have all shown interest. The Gators have been showing the most love of the presently non-offering group.

Jason Gibson – 5’10”, 140 pound freshman guard, Sidwell Friends, undecided AAU – This young guy is never afraid of the moment, willing to make plays for himself and others at critical times. He’s a competitor that can shoot past the three-point arc.

“Really, my teammates just gave me confidence” said Gipson of accepting the big moments. “At the beginning of the season, they really told me to shoot the ball. They had confidence in me, that’s what gives me confidence”.

The slightly ambidextrous Gibson can play both guard positions, manning the two guard for Sidwell, yet arriving on its campus a point guard.

In terms what he’s going to address this summer, Gibson shared “Definitely hit the weight room. Work on everything. I do a lot of workouts over the summer. I really grew over (last summer); that’s what helped me my freshman year”.

Gibson on his frosh campaign: “It was great. I really felt like I grew a lot. I had great teammates”.

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