Page Greenburg walked out of the Maret girls’ basketball team’s locker room Monday evening with the black Independent School League Class A championship banner draped over the front of her body.
“I’m going to wear this to school,” the guard said before posing for photos after the No. 19 Frogs’ 54-39 win over St. Andrew’s at St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes School in Alexandria.
Greenburg and her fellow freshman teammates had anticipated carrying that banner since they were in middle school, knowing they could be the group to turn around the program. A year after Maret won five games and had just six players in its program, a group of six freshmen led the Frogs to their first ISL Class A title in nine years.
“There was a lot of patiently waiting,” said Maret Coach Monique Liddell, who has directed the Northwest Washington program for eight years. “It clearly took some time, but it was well worth the wait for me.”
Maret (22-5) played multiple games with just five players available last season but has 10 players on the varsity squad this year. Maret is a K-12 school, so Liddell knew the talent in this year’s freshman class was coming. Still, she said it took until the end of December for her youngsters to become comfortable in crucial games.
Maret and St. Andrew’s (19-9) traded leads most of the first half Monday. After Greenburg’s three-pointer with 32 seconds left in the second quarter, Maret never trailed again and earned its third victory against the Lions this season. The Frogs fell to St. Andrew’s three times last year by an average of 21.7 points.
Freshman guards Zaiha Minnis (19 points), Ava McGee (15) and Greenburg (12) combined for 46 points of the Frogs’ 54 points.
They have been playing together since seventh grade.
“I’ve been waiting awhile,” Minnis said, “to play high school basketball.”
With about a minute remaining, Greenburg and McGee received treatment typically reserved for upperclassmen as they accepted cheers and hugs when Liddell removed them from the game.
As Liddell completed a postgame interview, her players sprayed her with water from Gatorade bottles. Liddell could only smile, hoping to experience more of these celebrations in future seasons.
“It’s going to be an exciting group to watch,” she said. “They have yet to scratch the surface.”
Most of Georgetown Visitation’s students who packed the bleachers for the Class AA title game left at halftime. Their Cubs held a commanding lead over Episcopal, and they had seen this result before.
“Where’s the fan club?” a spectator, sitting by herself, asked forward Ellie Mitchell after the Cubs’ 56-32 win.
For the 13th consecutive year, No. 10 Georgetown Visitation (26-3) claimed the ISL Class AA crown.
“It never gets old,” Georgetown Visitation Coach Mike McCarthy said. “Top to bottom, [the league] was as good as it’s been in a long time.”
Since Georgetown Visitation’s loss to Sidwell Friends on Jan. 24, Mitchell, a Princeton commit, has carried the Cubs on both ends of the court. Mitchell notched just five points against Episcopal (15-12), but forward Taylor Webster paced her team with 15.