WASHINGTON -- Dunbar High could not erase its loss of a week ago to St. Anthony's of Jersey City, N.J., but yesterday the Poets did the next best thing.
Dunbar used a 9-0 third-quarter run to pull away from St. Anthony's, the nation's No. 2 team according to USA Today, then survived a rally by the Friars that cut the lead to two, to pull out a 60-54 victory in the championship game of the Gonzaga/D.C. Classic at American University.
"We wanted some revenge," said Dunbar senior guard Terrance Alexander. "We felt things weren't even up there [in New Jersey]. Today, it was neutral."
Alexander led the Poets (9-1), rated No. 12 by USA Today, with 21 points and captured the tournament Most Valuable Player honor with a total of 54 points in three games.
Junior center Donta Bright added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Poets after subpar games in the opening round and semifinals. Junior guard Michael Lloyd and sophomore forward Keith Booth each added nine, as Dunbar's balance proved too much for St. Anthony's (3-1), a team that relies heavily on senior guard Dan Hurley and junior forward Rodrick Rhodes.
"It was a unified effort," said Dunbar coach Pete Pompey. "We talked team ball, five guys, the bench getting into the game."
In the 66-65 loss to St. Anthony's in a first-round game of the Skyline Classic at St. Peter's College in Jersey City, the Poets said they felt bad officiating aided St. Anthony's victory. Rhodes and Hurley scored 49 of the team's 66 points.
Yesterday, the two combined for 37 of St. Anthony's 54 points, but Hurley, who had 26 in the first game, scored just 17 on a subpar shooting day. Hurley, whose brother Bobby plays at Duke and who father, Bob, is the St. Anthony's coach, hit just six of 15 shots, including just two of six three-pointers.
"Yesterday [St. Anthony's 65-42 win over Gonzaga of Washington on Friday], a lot of other players got involved because they were playing a team that wasn't in the top 25," said Alexander. "But when they play a tough team or when it gets thick, they go to just Hurley and Rhodes."
St. Anthony's built a 24-19 lead behind Hurley and Rhodes with 3 minutes, 35 seconds left in the second quarter, but Dunbar scored the last six points of the first half to take a 25-24 halftime lead.
The Poets continued the surge in the third quarter. After St. Anthony's took a 26-25 lead on a layup by Woodrow Williams, Alexander got the Poets started with a driving, spinning layup and a three-pointer to make it 30-26.
St. Anthony's rallied with a 6-2 run, four by Rhodes, to make it 32-32 with 4:22 left. Then the Poets ran off nine straight, five by Lloyd, to bolt ahead, 41-32. The Poets held a 45-38 lead at the end of the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, St. Anthony's got within two twice, as the Poets made just seven of 17 free-throw attempts, keeping St. Anthony's in the game.
The all-tournament team consisted of Dunbar's Alexander, Bright and Lloyd, St. Anthony's Rhodes and Dunbar of Washington's Johnny Rhodes.