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2023 Governor's Challenge: Day 2 Notebook

By Marcus Helton, 12/28/23, 11:30AM EST


Highlights from Wednesday's Governor's Challenge action.

Defense keys Sidwell rally

Sidwell Friends (DC) 2025 guard Acaden Lewis.

SALISBURY, MD - A packed December schedule meant that Sidwell Friends (DC) only had availability for one Governor’s Challenge contest this year - a much-anticipated Elite Showcase matchup with St. Benedict’s (NJ).

For the first half of Wednesday’s game, though, it didn’t look like the Quakers would enjoy their trip.

Sidwell struggled to get anything going offensively in the first half, and uncharacteristic defensive mistakes - coupled with an opportunistic St. Benedict’s offense - sent them into the locker room trailing 23-11. Sidwell managed just four points in the second quarter.

“We got challenged at halftime coming out of the break,” Sidwell 2025 guard Acaden Lewis said. “They had too many points. We try to hold everybody to single-digit quarters, and we didn’t fulfil that in the first quarter or second. So I think we really just locked in to the defensive side and came together. Defense can be your best offense.”

That defense indeed flipped the script, as the Quakers clamped down and Lewis scored 20 of his game-high 22 points in the second half of a 46-36 comeback victory.

After falling behind by 14 points early in the third quarter, Sidwell started to turn the tide. The Quakers harassed the Gray Bees into 5-of-25 shooting in the second half and outscored them 17-2 in the decisive fourth quarter.

“When the offensive stuff is not going you way, you can always control the defensive side of the ball, and that’s what [Coach Eric Singletary] harps on,” Sidwell 2025 guard Jalen Rougier-Roane said. “So the only way to come back from down 10 is to chop at those 10 points, so that’s what we did, starting on the defensive end.”

Rougier-Roane finished with 10 as Sidwell made the most of its short stay in town.

“Its one game, so its a showcase,” Lewis said. “You want to just come out and showcase your talents. You just want to put your best foot forward, because you never know who’s in here: it could be a bigtime college or bigtime scout, so you just want to come in here with your guys and always get a good win. You never want to go home 0-1.”

Nathan Amoran led the Gray Bees with 12 points.

“It was just important to leave with a win,” Rougier-Roane said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re putting together our best stuff for the New Year, and it’s something to build on.”


Stephen Decatur (Md.) 2024 forward Brycen Coleman.

Stephen Decatur (Md.) put together the best football season in school history this fall, going unbeaten en route to their first state championship.

Six members of that squad suit up for the basketball team - including all five starters - and their big game experience came through as the Seahawks pulled out a 57-54 overtime win over Smyrna (DE).

2024 Brycen Coleman - who is committed to play tight end at Vanderbilt - had 17 points and 9 rebounds to lead Decatur, which remained undefeated on the hardwood.

“For sure, [the experience] definitely carries over and everything,” Coleman said. “We’re used to winning, you know? Honestly we kind of need a loss - we’ve got to learn how to lose and we overcame some adversity there. We’ve been winning - I think I haven’t lost yet this year. We’ve got a big game versus Dover this week and its going to be a really big one and its going to be very competitive.”

Against Smyrna, Decatur fell into an early hole but stayed within striking range, trailing 23-19 at the half and 38-33 after three quarters.

“[The key was] Figuring out our offense,” Coleman said. “They were a very competitive team and there was a lot of adversity - I actually think we were down most of the game. In the first half we weren’t sticking with what we do and everything; we were trying to do too much. I think in the second half we really found our offense and everything, and we figured out the matchups that would work for us best and we stayed up. We didn’t let going down on the scoreboard affect how we played. We stuck with each other, kept each other up, and we came out with the win.”

Trybe Wise had 14 for Decatur.

Chase Sullivan led Smyrna with 19 points, while Obinna Coleman had 15.


Gwynn Park and St. Charles high schools are separated by just 12.5 miles - a distance requiring roughly 20 minutes to travel on a light day of area traffic.

So it was funny that the two travelled all the way to Salisbury to face off, but their matchup proved well worth it to those who made the trip.

Gwynn Park 2024 guard Tony Pope III had 20 points and as the Yellowjackets held off the Spartans 54-50 win an All-DMV Bracket Final.

“They’re from the area, and there’s a lot of talking going around,” Pope said. “So we just wanted to prove something coming down and getting the win.”

The game was tight throughout, with Gwynn Park seemingly pulling ahead to stay when it built a 10-point lead midway through the third quarter.

The Spartans rallied though, with Tyjir Webster putting his team back in front 49-48 with 1:16 remaining.

George Washington-bound Gwynn Park 2024 star wing Ty Bevins struggled to convert offensively after injuring his right ankle early in the game, and finished with just 8 points on 3-of-15 shooting. His final bucket proved to be the biggest, though, as he hit a one-handed floater with 23.9 seconds remaining to put his team up 52-49.

“I got the ankle injury early in the game,” Bevins said, “but I think my teammates and my coaches have confidence in me so that boosted my confidence too, knowing that they trust me with the ball in my hands late in the game.”

Tristan Jerry had 11 points for Gwynn Park, while DeMarcus Daniel added 8 points and 7 rebounds.

Webster had 17 points and 15 rebounds for St. Charles, while Xavier Buchanan had 13 and Shamir Taylor posted 11 points and 12 rebounds. 

“I think [the key] was playing defense,” Bevins said. “They had some guys that made some tough shots and they had guys who were getting offensive rebounds, but we just had to stay locked in and focused the whole game.”

In addition to the bracket title, the win gave Gwynn Park some area bragging rights.

“We played another Charles County school earlier in the year - North Point,” Bevins said. “So we were kind of familiar with how their play styles were. Yesterday we were trying to focus on the first game against Gilman to get here and play whoever was the winner out of St. Charles and Oakdale, but when we knew we got the matchup we knew we had to come out here and play hard, ’cause we knew that they wanted to beat us.”


Walt Whitman (Md.) found a groove early on in its consolation matchup against Delaware Military Academy, using precise execution to build a 30-14 lead after one quarter and take a 46-27 advantage into the locker room at the half.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the Vikings’ efficiency - and their lead - disappeared.

Delaware Military trimmed a 21-point deficit down to just two in the final minute, but Whitman 2024 guard Thomas Farrell hit a clutch 3-pointer with 14.7 seconds remaining to give them some late breathing room en route to a 69-64 victory.

“I thought we played really well in the first half,” Whitman coach Chris Lun said. “ We had 12 assists and only 4 turnovers, and in the second half it was, like, opposite and we had 4 assists and 10 turnovers. For us to be successful, we get open shots and we move the ball, and in the second half we just weren’t doing it and [Delaware Military] stepped up. Thomas hit some big shots for us which kind of bailed us out, but they did a good job coming back and we were lucky to get away with one.”

Whitman 2025 guard Evan Brown had 22 points, Farrell 19 and 2025 guard Hayden Walsh 17 as the Vikings closed their latest Salisbury visit with a 1-1 mark. The Vikings have been regular Governor’s Challenge participants, and Lun said this year’s trip provided some valuable lessons.

“These games don’t count towards the playoffs, but we can learn a lot about ourselves when we come down and play the competition that we play,” he said.  “We learned that we can’t let teams crawl back in it, and it was also nice that some of our guys stepped up in crunch time when we needed a bucket. So we take it from here.”

Nate Golden had 18 points for Delaware Military, while Gabe Swift added 17 and Antonio Allin and Jaxon Lennon had 10 apiece.


Indian Creek (Md.) 2024 forward Aiden Evans poses after his team's win over Saints Peter & Paul at the 2023 Governor's Challenge.

Indian Creek (Md.) 2024 forward Aiden Evans.

Indian Creek (Md.) 6-foot-3 2024 forward Aiden Evans opened Day 2 with a bang, pouring in 31 points on 11-of-17 shooting and going 9-of-10 from the free throw line to lead the Eagles to a 76-57 Bracket Championship win over Saints Peter & Paul (Md.) at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center.

“I could feel it [was going to be a good day] when I walked in the gym,” Evans said. “The energy was nice, and it was awesome to play in this amazing arena. It was an awesome job from everybody.”

2024 guard Craig Allen had 14 points and 2026 guard Kyle Harvin 12 points, 8 assists and 4 steals for Indian Creek.

The Eagles jumped out to a 19-8 lead after one quarter and never looked back, closing out their visit to Salisbury with their second straight victory.

“It was actually amazing,” Evans said of his first Governor’s Challenge trip. “This was, like, our first time traveling as a team together and spending the night in a hotel together. I thought it was a great experience.”

2026 guard Garret Hemmingway had 16 points to lead the Sabres, while 2026 forward Robert Cunningham had 10.


William Penn (DE) 2024 guard Jaylin Horsey maintained his torrid pace at the Governor’s Challenge, pouring in 33 points and going 6-of-8 from 3-point range to lead his team to an 82-62 win over Potomac School (Va.)

The Division II Wilmington University (DE) signee was coming off a 37-point debut on Tuesday, going 10-of-16 from the field  - including 6-of-11 from deep - to carry the Colonials in a 72-67 loss to Riverdale Baptist (Md.)


Wednesday marked the first of two Governor’s Challenge All-Star Experiences, with 3-Point and Skills Competitions taking place at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center. The 3-Point Shootout Champions were Ryan McDonald of Central Bucks East (Pa.) and Trinity Lindblade from Linganore (Md.). The Skills Challenge Champions were London Creach from Oakland Catholic (Pa.) and Liam Barney from South River (Md.). … Wednesday also marked the first round of Bracket Championship games. Taking home Boys Bracket titles this year were Atholton (Md.), CH Flowers (Md.), Gwynn Park (Md.), Indian Creek (Md.) Milford Mill (Md.) and Riverdale Baptist (Md.). ... St. Peter's Prep (NJ) guard Nico Pena dropped 31 points in a 77-70 win over Archbishop Carroll (DC). ... Kaylin Bethea had 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead Penn Charter (Pa.) to a 53-37 win over Roland Park (Md.).


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