Boys' basketball preview



Top teams

Landon (19-6)  Episcopal (17-8)  Bullis (13-13)

[G] Sadiq Abubakar, Episcopal, 6-2, Sr.  [F] Darion Atkins, Landon, 6-8, Sr.
[G-F] Arnaud Adala Moto, Episcopal, 6-6, Jr.  [G] Joe McDonald, Landon, 6-2, Jr.  [G] Jonathan Tshibuy, Bullis, 6-5, Jr.

Episcopal brings back perhaps the most returning talent, led by Adala Moto, an athletic wing player who averaged 16 points last season, and Abubakar, who led the team with 16.5 ppg


Episcopal 61 Germantown Academy (Pa.) 47

Highlights: Junior Arnaud Adala Moto led Episcopal with 26 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals. Senior Sadiq Abubakar contributed 17 points and 10 rebounds,



Episcopal Handles Flint Hill

by Jamie Lovegrove

It has not taken long for the Episcopal Maroon to step into their stride this season, and they improved even further on the early season success Saturday night, taking care of the Flint Hill Huskies by a score of 64-33. Coming off a much closer victory over Bishop Ireton the night before, the Maroon grabbed an early lead and never looked back, using the hefty and boisterous crowd as just extra motivation to take care of business in style.

“It’s always a great win if you can defeat Flint Hill,” acknowledged Episcopal’s head coach Jim Fitzpatrick following his team’s victory. “But tonight I think the difference just was our defense. We really decided to sit down and guard their sets, defend their guards who are very good, and both our man and zone were working very well for us.

As the first quarter wore on, Flint Hill was repeatedly maintaining the longer possessions, but were unable to capitalize, whereas the Maroon would hustle down the floor quickly and often put away points from transition play. Huskies’ sophomore point-guard Mortimer Berchie kept working to keep his team close, including one particularly deep three-pointer, but by the end of the first Episcopal had already worked up a 16-8 lead.

Berchie would come out strong again in the second quarter, hitting yet another deep three, but Sadiq Abubakar would answer back immediately for Episcopal, draining one of his own from behind the arc. As the teams headed in for halftime with an Episcopal lead of 24-15, it was the defense from the Maroon that truly stood out, adamantly refusing Flint Hill any opportunity to turn the tide.

Episcopal would really break free in the third quarter, led by the same trio of players that had dominated the rest of the game in Abubakar, Adala Moto, and David Kagulu-Kalema. Any time that Flint Hill would produce an impressive offensive possession, and there were a few, Episcopal would instantly turn around and re-extend their lead. 

With the score at 48-22 by the end of the third, the question had really become by just how much were Episcopal going to end up taking it, as the big men in the post continued to have their way with the Huskies’ defense.

As expected, the Maroon would go on to run away with it in the final quarter, taking it by a final score of 64-33, although leading at one point by as much as 36. 

“I think we have a lot of weapons offensively,” said coach Fitzpatrick about his team’s success. “We have three guys who are very strong scorers from the perimeter, also can play a little in the post, and they all compliment each other very nicely. So I think one of the reasons we were tough to stop tonight was because we could come at them from so many different angles.”

 Kalema Hits Floater in OT to Beat Landon

by Lucas McAndrews

In one of the best games played in this early IAC season, Landon and Episcopal went down to the wire, and needed overtime and a tremendous play from Episcopal’s senior guard David Kagulu-Kaleema to close out the Landon Bears, 57-55.


The game started off with both teams playing very evenly on both sides of the ball, forcing turnovers, getting out in transition, and converting tough lay-ups. Landon was led by their starting backcourt, sophomore Joseph McDonald and senior Daniel Rubin, who were able to knock down shots and get their teammates good looks at the basket. Episcopal was led by Kagulu-Kaleema and junior Sadiq Abubakar, whose freakish athleticism along with his long-distance shot, made him very difficult to guard all game.

Episcopal’s defense was the story in the first quarter, getting steals and easy buckets in transition, especially at the end of the quarter. The quarter ended with Episcopal having all of the momentum as Kagulu-Kaleema stole the ball and went coast to coast for a dunk to give Episcopal a four-point lead after the first quarter, 13-9.

However, the second quarter was all about the Bears, whose defense led to easy transition buckets by McDonald, who led the Bears with eight first half points. Daniel Rubin and Andrew Roach, Landon’s two co-captains, were shut out early, but made contributions nonetheless through their passing and defense, and led the Bears to a 26-22 lead into halftime.

After halftime, both teams came out red hot in the third quarter, hitting from all over the court for the first couple minutes, but then cooling down at the end as both teams seemed to go cold from the field. Landon was able to increase their lead through steals off their 2-3 zone, going on a quick 4-0 run with back-to-back steals and lay-ups by Daniel Rubin and Addison Sarter, to give Landon a 39-28 lead with just a minute remaining in the third quarter.

It appeared the clock may have struck midnight on Episcopal’s chance to get back into the game, but Kagulu-Kaleema and Abubakar would not take “no” for an answer. After two tough lay-ups by Kagulu-Kaleema, Abubakar skied over all the Landon players to get a huge rebound and putback, and on the very next possession, the junior from Abuja, Nigeria hit an “NBA-range” three-pointer that cut the once 12-point Landon lead to just three, 41-44, with just two minutes remaining.

After a pullup three-pointer by McDonald gave the Landon Bears a six-point lead once again, a tough Adala Moto lay-up, two free throws made by Kagulu-Kaleema, and a steal by the Maroon gave them a chance to tie with just a minute remaining; however, a fade away by Adala Moto was missed and the Bears had the ball with a chance to ice the game. But the junior, Sadiq Abubakar stole a cross court pass and was fouled on the ensuing lay-up with just 30 seconds remaining. Abubakar made both free throws and Landon could not get a shot off before the time went out and a four-minute overtime period was needed.

At the end of the overtime, after a tip in by Darion Adkins tied the game at 55 with just 6.8 seconds remaining, Kagulu-Kaleema made a heroic play in catching the ball from his own free throw line, knifing his way through Landon’s pressing defense and knocked down the softest floater from inside the paint with just 1.8 seconds. Landon could not get a shot off, once again, and the Maroon escaped 57-55 over Landon in overtime.


Episcopal defeats Landon (57-55) in OT

by Mike Burns

Landon High School traveled to Alexandria to take on Episcopal in what turned out to be one of the best finishes so far this season. Both teams were searching for an identity after losing their star players from last season. There was pressure on many of the players to step up and prove it is now their time.

The game was back and forth throughout and provided fans with everything they could have hoped for. The game began with a combination of good defense and sloppy offense which resulted in a few turnovers. Eventually Episcopal's defense was able to take control late in the first quarter.

Momentum changed in the second quarter as Landon begins to take over. The Bears stellar defense and poise on the offensive side of the floor allowed them to head into halftime with a 26-22 lead. Landon was able to keep the momentum going into the second half. The Bears shot the ball extremely well in the 3rd quarter and built their lead to double digits with just over a minute left in the 3rd. A key time out was called by Coach Fitzpatrick and it got his players fired up. The Maroon were able to close out the quarter trimming the lead to 7.

As the game entered the 4th quarter you could sense that things were going to get tight in this IAC rivalry. Episcopal kept fighting and clawing their way back into the game as junior Sadiq Abubakar hit a clutch three pointer to cut the Landon lead to 3 with about two minutes remaining. With under a minute remaining, Landon led by 2 and had the ball with a chance to ice the game. However, Abubaker stepped up huge with a steal and drove the length of the court for a layup but he was fouled. The junior was able to make both free throws to tie the game. Landon had one more chance to win the game in regulation but they were stopped by Episcopal's tough defense, so to overtime they went.

The game remained tied deep into overtime and with just under 7 seconds left Episcopal had the ball with a chance to win the game but would have to go the length of the court. The ball was inbounded to senior guard David Kagulu-Kalema, who drove the length of the court and put up a running floater from just inside the foul line, which dropped softly into the net to give Episcopal the overtime victory.


Starks Leads Georgetown Prep Past Episcopal

by Brian Kapur

In the highly competitive IAC, which features three of the area’s top-20 teams, Georgetown Prep, Episcopal and defending champion Landon have been jockeying for position. On Friday night Georgetown Prep sent the IAC a resounding message while beating the Maroon 66-50.

The Little Hoyas needed to rely on poise in the first quarter as Episcopal built a 16-11 lead. The Maroon fed off a raucous crowd at Episcopal's Centennial Gymnasium and executed a very up-tempo offensive pace and an aggressive defense to keep Georgetown Prep off balance.

The Little Hoyas struggled on defense trying to match up against rangy Sadiq Abubakar, who finished with 20 points, and Arnaud Adala-Moto, who finished with 12 points, in man-to-man defense.

But by the end of the opening stanza, Georgetown Prep settled down and used a 2-3 zone defense to cool off the Maroon's offense and force them into jump shots. The change worked to perfection and turned the tide with a 13-0 run.

"We needed to change how we covered their bigs because they were difficult for us to cover (in man),” Georgetown Prep head coach Dwayne Bryant said. "We had to slow them down and used a zone to use our size and force them into jumpers. Thankfully it worked."

"Prep really played a nice zone," Fitzpatrick said. "We got some good looks from outside but we couldn't hit them because we were out of rhythm. We got tight and stopped going inside, and you just can’t live off the three-point shot and lost our offensive balance."


IAC boys

Starks leads Georgetown Prep to win over Episcopal

By Josh Barr

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 16, 2010

Starks scored 28 points and had four assists, leading 13th-ranked Georgetown Prep to a 66-50 victory over 14th-ranked Episcopal in a meeting of Interstate Athletic Conference leaders in Alexandria.

Keeping it close: Episcopal guard Sadiq Abubakar, a junior from Nigeria in his first year at the Alexandria boarding school, scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half.


Landon Gets Revenge Over Episcopal

by Jamie Lovegrove


It may seem like it’s been a while since Episcopal's overtime victory over Landon on January 12th, but to most players on the court this past Friday night, it appeared fresh on their minds. Episcopal played well, but the Bears lead the whole way, and walked away with the 64-50 victory.

The Bears came out firing early, storming out to a first quarter lead. By the end of the quarter the Bears had jumped out to a 15-6 lead, a fact that may have shaken a confident Episcopal Maroon team.

This wake-up call seemed to have some effect on the Maroon in the second, as some more progressive, thought-out play created more scoring opportunities. Meanwhile, they put pressure on the Bears down the other end of the court, utilizing their size for some suffocating defense. Although the Maroon showed more promising signs, including some nice plays from Sadiq Abubakar, they still found themselves trailing 25-18 at halftime.

Darion Atkins came out looking to increase the lead early in the second, as he created space for a layup, and then finished a put back on the next possession. Despite some more strong plays from Abubakar, Landon's depth helped them through.

Abubakar's fast start looked to get Episcopal back in a more reasonable position early, but insistent replies from McDonald and Atkins continued to buoy the Bears. The increasingly fast-tempo of play was causing turnovers for both sides, but this seemed to be marginally favoring the Maroon, as the gap narrowed once more.

As Rubin nailed an open three, and Wellington hit another long one as the shot clock buzzer sounded on the ensuing possession, it was becoming ever more hard to see an Episcopal comeback as a possibility. An immediate response from Abubakar with one of his own was promising, but nothing seemed to be enough for the Maroon to fight back level. Landon kept controlled in the final minutes to close out the win successfully, as perfect free throw shooting put the game out of sight.


Top 10 Players in the IAC

by Jamie Lovegrove

Sadiq Abubakar (Episcopal, Guard, Junior)

Alongside teammate David Kagulu-Kalema, Abubakar has led the Maroon nobly from the guard position this season, and can consistently be relied upon to produce when Episcopal needs him. Abubakar’s ridiculous athleticism helps him immensely in all aspects of the game, and his 15.6 points per game leads a formidable group of Maroon players this season. As the playoffs approach, Abubakar will hope to continue his strong run of play as he attempts to help take down favorites Landon and Georgetown Prep, but the fact that he has another year left at Episcopal might be what is most exciting to head coach Jim Fitzpatrick.


EHS 73 - St. Stephen's / Agnes 43

by Jim Fitzpatrick, Head Coach

The Episcopal Boys Varsity Basketball team hosted cross-town rival St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School on Sunday afternoon in Centennial Gymnasium. Episcopal won the game by a final score of 73-43, and with this victory Episcopal's record stands at 11-5 overall, 4-4 in the IAC.

Episcopal held a slight advantage at the end of the first quarter (12-8), but the team found a way to beat the St. Stephen's full-court pressure and half-court trapping in the second quarter. Four players for the Maroon tallied baskets in the second eight minutes of play, but the inspired play of Junior Sadiq Abubakar helped provide the early cushion for the home team. Abubakar tallied 11 points in the quarter, and three of his five baskets came from his teammates assists. At the half Episcopal led 31-20, but this was a familiar position for these two teams. In January's match-up between these two teams, Episcopal led 35-26 at the half, but only ended up winning the game by a score of 55-54. Despite the half-time lead on Sunday, Episcopal knew that their second-half performance would ultimately decide this basketball game.

Fortunately for Episcopal and all of the Maroon Faculty and Fans in attendance, the team played an even better second half of basketball. EHS jumped all over the Saints in the third quarter, out-scoring their opponents by a 24-13 margin. In the quarter Abubakar had 8 points, Sophomore Arnaud Adala Moto had 9, and Tier Gibbons "came up big" with five points off of two very tough buckets in the paint. The fourth quarter was more of the same as Episcopal tallied 18 points and the Saints scored only 10. Episcopal came away with the important IAC and VIS State victory by a final score of 73-43.


Abubakar and Adala-Moto Lead Episcopal's African Revolution

by Jamie Lovegrove


Episcopal’s Jim Fitzpatrick is in a unique situation for a high school basketball coach. Working at a boarding school, he is given the opportunity to be creative in his search for young men with high-caliber academics as well as high-caliber basketball talent. Bringing in international players is something that not many coaches in the area have a chance to do, but Fitzpatrick has capitalized on his situation successfully.

Specifically, he has focused on bringing in students from the continent of Africa, working with specific individuals who can match the rigorous academic standards required, as well as produce on the court at Episcopal. In recent years this program has produced such talents as Given Kalipinde (Loyola Marymount), originally from Zambia, and Yao Sithole (Skidmore), a South African native.

Now, however, there is a new wave of African talent at the Alexandria boarding school and this talent is now headlined by junior Sadiq Abubakar from Nigeria and sophomore Arnaud Adala-Moto from Cameroon.

For the last couple of years before coming to Episcopal, Sadiq Abubakar had to live in an entirely different city than his parents, the Nigerian capital of Abuja, in order to get a better Nigerian education. Living alongside his older brother, Abubakar moved to Abuja, far from his parents’ small village, in hopes of receiving a greater education and having the possibility of one day of moving to America.

This year that hope became a reality, as Fitzpatrick was able to bring this diligent, intellectual student over. He has already begun to excel both on and off the court, making his impact on the IAC while simultaneously maintaining an impressive GPA. Although IAC basketball has presented a new challenge to this true junior, he has nonetheless become the leading scorer for the Maroon, and Fitzpatrick describes him as one of the better defenders they have had at the school.

Sadiq works harder than any player I’ve ever coached,” asserted Coach Fitzpatrick. “He’s constantly in the gym on his own, he’s always working on his shot with teammates, so I know that his work ethic will propel him into becoming a truly great player. He is learning every day, he is getting better every day, and he is really a thrill to coach.”

A scoring guard, Abubakar is adept at finding several different ways to put the ball in the basket, and he particularly shines in transition. Also notable for his shutdown defense, he has been relied upon constantly throughout the season to shutdown the best player on the opposing team, and he always plays above the rim. Averaging 15.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, Abubakar’s impact in the IAC has certainly been felt in his first year on the scene.

“The other reason why these two guys make my job so much easier is that they really understand their roles on the team,” noted Fitzpatrick. “When I’m coaching 13 guys, the most important thing I preach is that they are all valuable to the team in their own unique way, and Arnaud and Sadiq have really bought on to that concept.”

With such talented young players, the next level is always a key focus for the high school coach, and focusing some attention on where they will be in the future. The long and sometimes intimidating college recruiting process has begun for both Abubakar and Adala-Moto, although Fitzpatrick believes it is important not go overboard with it just yet, and allow them to keep their options open. Right now, the pair continues to focus on school, and developing their basketball skills – the college aspect will continue to work its way through in the meantime.

At this point, the sky truly is the limit for these two gifted athletes, and there is no reason to believe that they cannot use what they have achieved already in their first season in the IAC to their advantage as their careers progress.

“Both of these players have such outstanding potential,” Fitzpatrick said. “As for Sadiq, I’ve never coached a player who is physically as strong, or athletically as gifted. In terms of sheer power and athleticism, Sadiq is a true standout.”


Maroon cruise in rivalry rematch

By Austin Danforth

Twelve days removed from their last game, a seven-point loss to powerful Georgetown Prep, the Episcopal boys basketball team wanted a shot at someone else. A Valentine's day matinee with cross-town rivals St. Stephen's/ St. Agnes turned out to be just the tonic they needed. Behind a combined 58 points from their Big Three - senior David Kagulu-Kalema, junior Sadiq Abubakar and sophomore Arnaud Adala-Moto - the host Maroon feasted on the less-polished Saints for a 73-43 win.

When the teams first met late last month, it was Kagulu-Kalema's two free throws with less than 20 seconds left that sealed the one-point victory. This time around, it was a dominating first half from Abubakar and a solid all-around showing by Adala-Moto that did the trick. Abubakar led all scorers with 28 points - including 16 of the Maroon's 31 first-half points - while the 6-foot-5 Adala-Moto added 14 points to go along with 11 rebounds and three blocks.

Leading by 11 after two periods, the Maroon came out of halftime with a stylish 17-6 run that was all Abubakar and Adala-Moto. The second-half burst and the Big Three proved too much for a rusty saints team that had practiced just once since their last game on February 4, according to head coach Kevin McLinton. "All three pose different challenges for you and they're three different players, so what you have to do is match that," McLinton said, "The first game we did a good job but today, obviously, we didn't."


EHS 61 - Georgetown Prep 42

by Jim Fitzpatrick, Head Coach

The Episcopal Boys' Varsity Basketball team avenged two earlier losses in the season to the IAC Tournament's #1 seed by defeating the Georgetown Prep Little Hoya's on Tuesday night in the 3rd place game of the IAC Tournament. EHS finished in a tie for third place overall in the IAC based on the point system that the league has in place.

EHS and Georgetown Prep were both a bit sluggish to start the game, and Prep went inside early to their two 6'7 post players to score some easy baskets in the first half. Episcopal would also find a way to get to the rim in transition, and the Maroon held an 11-9 advantage after the first quarter. The second period belonged to Georgetown Prep for the first few minutes, and EHS found themselves in some foul trouble as well as struggling to find a way to score. This is when Sadiq Abubakar began to take over for the Maroon. The Junior from Nigeria poured in 11 points in the quarter and was able to give Episcopal the edge at half by a score of 23-20.

The third quarter would be one of the most dominating performances of the year for the Maroon. Five different players tallied at least one field goal for Episcopal, and the team out-scored the Little Hoya's by a margin of 21-5 in the quarter. The lead for EHS was 19 points heading into the fourth quarter, and this would also be the margin for the final score of the game. Episcopal won the game by a final margin of 61-42.