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Sidwell Quakers capture Jelleff championship
(Published July 26, 2004)

By DAVID STEINBACHER
Special to The Common Denominator

The Sidwell Friends Quakers won the prestigious Jelleff League Boys Summer League basketball championship 54-40 over Thomas Edison of Fairfax County on July 23 at Jelleff Boys & Girls Clubhouse in Northwest Washington.

Coached by George Leftwich, who also coaches the Quakers' regular season basketball squad, Sidwell was only third seeded heading into the playoffs with a regular season mark of 5-4. Edison, coached by Jerid Murray, was first seeded after the regular season with a mark of 7-2 in the eight-team league.

Edison nursed a 2-0 and a 2-1 lead early on, but rising senior point guard Nasser Muhammad's layup moments later gave Sidwell a 4-2 lead and the Quakers never looked back.

"We pride ourselves on our defense. Offensively, we spread the floor and tonight we distributed the ball real well," Muhammad said.

Sidwell closed out the first quarter with an 11-6 advantage. Edison trailed 17-16 midway through the second quarter, but the Quakers of the Mid-Atlantic Conference outscored the Eagles 11-2 to close out the second stanza.

With a 28-18 advantage at halftime, Sidwell was never threatened again during the game's final 16 minutes.

"Our guys stepped up tonight when it counted. We've got a real cohesive group of players," Coach Leftwich said.

The Quakers led 45-31 after the third quarter and led by double digits the entire second half.
Muhammad, also a football standout for Sidwell Head Coach John Simon, led the Quakers' offensive outburst with 17 points and was chosen "Tournament MVP."

Rising senior shooting guard Sam Moser chipped in 15 points and rising senior forward Doug Kaufman added 10 points.

"We were unselfish out there. Also, our intensity made a difference. On a personal note, I improved this summer regarding my ability to create off the dribble, as well as on my jumpshot," said a pleased Moser.

Rising junior starting post Andrew Fertig, rising sophomore starting forward Ben Dizard and reserve juniors Dekonti Sayeh, Josh Tom and Daniel White combined for 12 points. Fertig, at 6-foot-4, led the Quakers with 10 rebounds.

"This championship feels good. We played real tough defense tonight. We've all gotten more comfortable with each other over the course of the summer," Fertig said.

Edison was paced by rising junior guard Ben Stokes with 17 points.

"The guys gave it everything they had on both sides of the ball," Coach Leftwich said. "A lot of people stepped up in the three-game tournament. Daniel White knocked down two big treys late in the game when we defeated Bethesda-Chevy Chase in the semi-finals.

"I'm very happy for the kids. They've worked hard. We still have some things to improve upon for the upcoming regular season. Championships only come along so many times in life, and when they do, it's good to take advantage of them," Leftwich said.

NOTES: Sidwell defeated Bethesda-Chevy Chase 80-74 in the semi-finals and defeated Washington International 77-62 in the quarterfinals. Edison defeated Centreville 60-58 in a very intense semi-final matchup. Edison handily defeated Potomac School of McLean in the quarterfinals. Other participants this summer included Walt Whitman of Bethesda and Washington-Lee of Arlington.

The Jelleff League is the oldest summer league in the entire metro area, dating back to 1951. Tournament Director/D.C. native Bob Stowers commented, "We enjoy doing this. Hopefully the teams get a lot of value out of it. It's a chance for the players to develop and keep their skill levels up."

Copyright 2004, The Common Denominator