From underneath the basket, the player inbounding the ball for Potomac School chose her safest option and lobbed a pass toward half court. 

Sidwell Friends freshman guard Kiki Rice was on the ball quickly, twisting in midair to intercept it. She brought it down with a dribble behind her back, creating a one-on-two fast break for herself that she split with a swift crossover. With a defender trailing closely, she softly laid the ball in, giving Sidwell an efficient and stunning two points. 

Rice and the No. 16 Quakers have taken plenty of people by surprise this season, surging through the Independent School League with efficiency and poise. Their 74-52 win over the Panthers on Monday afternoon in Northwest Washington moved them to 8-0 in the conference and 16-4 overall. They have lost to just one local opponent this season, and that was in early December. 

“We know we can play, and we know we have the potential to beat anyone, really,” Coach Anne Renninger said. 

Rice, who finished with 22 points Monday despite being pulled out for long stretches, joined a solid Quakers team that went 20-8 last season. Sidwell returned four starters, including powerful senior forward Nalani Lyde. Renninger knew what she was going to get from Rice, who attended Sidwell’s middle school.

“We had a quicker adjustment than you would think because I knew what we were getting and could prepare,” Renninger said. “I knew she could compete in this conference.” 

Rice said it took a few games for her to realize she could score at the high school level, and then she adjusted when the rest of the area came to the same conclusion. Facing box-and-ones and double-teams, she became a distributor. 

“We have so many good other players around me, we can look for threes or get it down into the post,” Rice said. 

Rice entered Monday averaging 18.9 points. She scored 26 two weeks ago in a win over Georgetown Visitation, which has won the past 12 ISL AA Division championships. It was Sidwell’s first victory over the Cubs since 2006. 

“I knew the seniors really wanted it,” Rice said. “They had been close for so long, but I wanted to do what I could to help make that happen.” 

On Monday, the Quakers looked like a machine from the opening tip. They showed offensive balance as they sprinted to a 17-0 lead. Lyde and Rice got easy looks inside, and senior Nadjah Johnson and sophomore Blair Penn provided threats from the perimeter.  

“We definitely attack the basket very well, and then when we attack, we start shooting very well,” Lyde said. “What we do best kind of depends on the day.”