'An Easy Team to Root For'

'An Easy Team to Root For'
'An Easy Team to Root For'

One person can certainly make a difference in a basketball game. But one player—no matter how many points they score, rebounds they grab, or shots they block—can’t win a game alone.

That spirit of teamwork is how the Sidwell Friends girls’ basketball team has kicked off a strong season: Not only did the so-far undefeated team recently win the Capital Invitational, which was held at Sidwell Friends against some of the most prestigious teams in the DC area and the country, they are now ranked the No. 1 girls’ high school basketball team in the nation by ESPN’s SCNext.

That’s all wonderful, says coach Tamika Dudley. But what she sees in the team off the court is also something to be proud of.

“This team has a commitment to sacrifice for a common goal,” she says. “They’ve done a really great job at making the necessary sacrifices to accomplish what we want to accomplish this season. And it’s not just our top players or our leading scorers—every kid on the team has bought in."

“It isn’t easy being number one in the country, but our girls’ basketball players and coaches have done it,” says Keith Levinthal, the David P. Pearson ’52 Director of Athletics. “I am so proud of them for this incredible achievement. However, as much as I appreciate their on-court success, this is an easy team to root for. They are a humble and kind group that reflects the values of our athletic program and School.”

Dudley herself enjoyed a recent success when she was named the National High School Basketball Coaches Association Wooden Legacy Coach of the Year in DC, named for legendary basketball coach John Wooden, who led the UCLA Bruins to 10 NCAA titles (if you haven’t heard of him but are a fan of Ted Lasso, Wooden invented the “Pyramid of Success” that hangs in Coach Lasso’s office). The award recognizes her commitment to education, longevity, character, service, and excellence.

“What the coaching staff does is about the kids; it’s not about us and it’s never been about us,” Dudley says. “It’s nice to get recognition for doing something that we would have done anyway.”

“I’m thrilled that Tamika is being recognized with this award,” Levinthal says. “What she has achieved here in a short amount of time is nothing short of remarkable. Her vision, work ethic, and energy have not only been great for our girls’ basketball team, but our entire athletic program. We’re fortunate to have her here.”

Wins and awards aside, this season—which we all hope will safely continue—is already something special.

“Because we didn’t have a season last year, it’s almost like the kids are taking two years and cramming it into one season so they can get everything out of it,” Dudley says. “Not having a season last year makes them really appreciate what they have now.”

And what they have is a leader, a team, and a School that takes pride in their successes, accomplishments, and commitment to character.

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