The top-ranked Dunbar Poets of East Baltimore rolled to an 80-61 victory over Annapolis Saturday in boys basketball, beating the Panthersin almost every statistical category.
It was the Poets' 12th consecutive win, bringing their record to 16-1, while the Fighting Panthers, playing at home, fell to 11-2.
Annapolis went into the game hoping to end the "Dunbar hex" -- they had not beaten the Poets in four previous tries. A lackluster performance at the foul line in the first half killed those hopes, however. The Panthers sank only two of 11 free throws in the first half.
Still, they trailed by just 12 at intermission. That was the closestthe Panthers came to beating the Poets, a perennial Maryland Scholastic Association power now ranked 5th in the nation by USA Today.
Missing the opportunity to close in, the Panthers watched the Poets' lead balloon to 21 points with five minutes to go in the third period.The game may as well have ended then.
"Our foul shooting has beenconsistent this year. Consistently poor," Annapolis coach John Bradysaid after the game. "Our approach to practicing free throws is verygood, so I don't know what it is. Tonight, even guys who are good free-throw shooters didn't hit them."
Dennis Edwards, the Panthers' leading scorer, had 21 points on the night. He got 11 of those in thefirst period, but hit only one of three free-throw attempts in the first half.
Going in 0-for-2 at the line in the first half were Delmore Howard, Ahmed Middleton and Richard Naylor. Rob Wooster was 1-for-2.
"(Brady) makes us practice (foul shooting) a lot in practice,and we do it then. But I guess some people get a little shaky in thegame thinking about it," said Howard, who scored 19 points for the Panthers.
The Panthers were 8-for-19 at the line, compared to 14-for-27 for Dunbar.
Even discounting the poor foul shooting, Annapolis proved to be no match on the boards for the Poets, especially in the second half. Dunbar out-rebounded the Panthers, 52-26.
The Poetsalso out-shot the Panthers, 102-68, and it was their domination on the boards that enabled them constantly to get second and third shots -- sometimes four or five shots -- off of offensive rebounds. Both coaches agreed Dunbar's ability to make shots was a big factor in the outcome.
"We probably out-rebound everybody we play," said Poets coach Pete Pompey. "If we don't rebound well, we don't score the kind of points that we do. That's one of the real big things that has carried us to where we are. Our rebounding, offensively and defensively, is our main asset."
Brady acknowledged Dunbar as an outstanding, talent-laden team that controlled the boards Saturday night. But the Panther coach wasn't happy with the officiating.
"We might as well schedule the game at Dunbar next year if we're going to get that kindof officiating," he said. "They just physically beat us on the boards, but they're too good to get help (from the referees). I kept looking around and I thought we were at Dunbar. I looked at the baseline and saw "Panthers," and I realized we were still home."
Guards Michael Lloyd and Terrance Alexander, with 23 and 21 points, respectively, led the Poets. Donta Bright scored 13 points and Keith Booth 15.
Alexander, a 6'3" senior, led in rebounds with 14.
The 6-foot-2 Lloyd, a junior, delighted the sellout crowd with three spectacular dunks and a pair of three-pointers.
His final dunk, which came in the last seconds of the game, was a perfect imitation of the 360 slam patented by the Atlanta Hawks' Dominique Wilkins.
Annapolis, which suffered two losses last week, will try to regroup at Meade (10-3) Friday. Old Mill (10-3) upset Annapolis Tuesday, 68-62. The Panthers have not lost two games in a week since the 1982-1983 season.