Maret Coach Garrett O’Donnell can’t recall the last time his team shot lights out from the floor. What he and his players do remember well is that it’s been a long time – three years and five games, to be exact – since the Frogs beat Mid-Atlantic Conference rival Sidwell Friends.
During Tuesday’s home tilt, No. 12 Maret used a memorable performance from the field to erase its nightmarish skid, draining nine three-pointers in a 59-55 win against the ninth-ranked Quakers in Northwest.
Steffen Davis led the Maret (11-2, 2-0 MAC) barrage from long range, recording five three-pointers and a season-high 21 points. Meantime, Sidwell’s Josh Hart struggled with foul trouble, scoring a season-low eight points before fouling out with 7 minutes 21 seconds left in the contest.
“Against a great team like Sidwell, you have to do all the right things — shooting, rebounding and defending. Ultimately, along with our shooting, I thought we did a really good job on defense,” O’Donnell said. “[Hart] is such a good player that you’re not going to stop him, so we wanted to make him work for everything he got.”
Though Hart’s absence didn’t help matters, the Quakers’ (15-3, 3-1) struggles began well before he left the floor. Maret has typically struggled with Sidwell’s matchup-zone defense, O’Donnell said, but a Davis three-pointer just before the end of the first quarter signaled what would be the Frogs’ answer on this night — outside shooting.
The Frogs hit three shots from behind the arc to outscore Sidwell 22-8 in the second quarter and turn a one-point deficit into a 13-point lead. Midway through the third period, Hart picked up his fourth foul, sending the area’s second-leading scorer to the bench and opening the door for Davis to take charge.
The junior guard scored 11 of his team’s 13 points in the third, with the biggest coming on consecutive three-pointers to end the period after the Quakers had cut the deficit to 41-40. Hart reentered the game to start the fourth, but the Villanova recruit lasted only 39 seconds before being whistled for his fifth foul on a loose ball scramble.
“We usually try to drive against their zone, but they were kind of sinking in on defense, so we just took the open opportunities and kept hitting them,” Davis said. “Once Josh fouled out, I think that gave us confidence because our goal was to contain him and Matt [Hillman].”
The remaining half of that duo wouldn’t let the Quakers fade, though. Hillman scored 10 of his game-high 22 points in the fourth and Phillip McGloin (18 points) added several baskets to pull Sidwell within three with less than a minute remaining. But a Marlon Beck steal and transition layup, along with two Davis free throws, sealed the Frogs’ first win against Sidwell since 2010.
“After I hit that first shot to end the first quarter, that got me going. I knew I could hit those shots and I’ve shot well before, but never in a big game like this,” Davis said. “It feels great to finally beat a good team and rival like Sidwell.”