With two minutes left in the fifth overtime of a Monday night game against Coolidge, Maret forward Anthony Watkins was called for his fifth foul. Maret starters Anthony Carr and Randy Evans had already fouled out, four other players were missing because of injuries or vacation. When Coach Charles Lewis looked down the bench, there was no one left to play.
"I went into the game with only seven players," said Lewis, still drained from the five-overtime game eventually won by Coolidge, 77-68. "My best player, Anthony Carr, had three fouls in the first half and picked up another one in the first minute of the third period. I was trying to get a sub in for him and the kid had trouble getting his warmup off. The referees signaled play ball and Carr got his fifth foul before I could get him out.
"I lose two more starters and now I'm trying to play the best team in the D.C. Public Schools with five guards. I give my kids credit. They hung in there and we played them to five overtimes. But I'm down to four guys. What could I do? My guys didn't get any rest."
Point guard Sylvester Simpkins had 28 points, made five three-pointers and handled the ball the entire game.
"With four players, you can go parallel, go downhill, but not uphill," Lewis said. "It was tough on us."
Actually, Maret caught Coolidge at the right time. After spending five days in Las Vegas, Coolidge Coach Len Farello knew his team would be ripe for picking in its next game. The Colts split four games in the Holiday Tournament in Las Vegas and Farello needed a good run to get his team back on track. But this was ridiculous.
With only one day of practice, Coolidge's highly regarded team got everything but the high-scoring game it hoped for.
Center Donald Hodge scored 29 points and the Colts, taking advantage of outmanned Maret, outscored the hosts, 10-1, in the fifth three-minute extra session to escape with the victory.
"I could see from the start the game was going to be close," Farello said. "Neither team led by more than six at one point. We led in three of the four overtimes and they scored in the final seconds to force another overtime. It was frustrating for us; we couldn't get the ball to Hodge, and our guards were hesitant shooting the ball. I felt pretty good when they had only four guys out there, we just spread them out on offense and double-teamed the player with the ball when they were on offense. This was a good win for us; it prepares you for the close games down the road."
Lewis and his Fighting Frogs won't have time to reflect on Monday's game. This week they host both St. Maria Goretti of Hagerstown and second-ranked Flint Hill.
"We won't run out of players anymore," Lewis said. "I'll bring up some guys from jayvee. Maybe they'll help us some."