When Dunbar and Mount St. Joseph met last month, Mount St. Joseph was ranked in the lower half of the area's top 20, and the Poets won by 43 points.
Mount St. Joseph improved to No. 6 in the poll, and yesterday the two teams met again. But the Poets proved that, while those who do the rankings may think the teams are closer, they are not, and routed the host Gaels, 107-56.
Junior point guard Michael Lloyd paced the Poets with 30 points. Senior guard Terrance Alexander added 22, junior center Donta Bright had 20 and sophomore forward Keith Booth added 19.
The Poets (16-1, 6-0) did away with Mount St. Joseph (13-5, 2-2) by outrebounding the Gaels, 53-24, while hitting 45 of 77 field goals in the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference Division I contest. The Poets have scored more than 100 in all six league games.
"We just continue to be a good rebounding team," said Dunbar coach Pete Pompey. "It's a real intangible. Defense does a lot of things for offense but if you get outrebounded a lot of times you are going to lose."
St. Joe did not have as much trouble with Dunbar's full-court pressure as other opponents have had (14 turnovers), but the Gaels were outmanned on the boards. Dunbar had almost twice as many field goals as St. Joe (25 of 48).
Senior forward Ronald Issacs played well throughout for St. Joe and finished with 15 points. Senior guard Darrin Jones had 14, but just two in the first half.
The Poets took control early behind the play of Lloyd, who hit two three-pointers and penetrated for a dunk to help Dunbar take a 14-5 lead. The Poets led at the end of the quarter, 22-9, then used a 17-4 run to build a 39-13 lead before settling for a 49-21 halftime lead.
"He [Lloyd] broke it open for us," said Pompey. "Mike did a good job. He really controlled things, hitting the three-pointers to open things up for us, and he helped us with his penetration."
In the first half Lloyd made seven of 11 shots, including four of six three-pointers, and had 19 points.
He and the other four starters -- Bright, Alexander, Booth and Kevin Washington -- played nearly the entire game, although the Poets' lead never dipped below 30 in the second half. The only Poets reserve who played was guard Diego Jones in the second half.
After the game, Pompey denied that he was giving his starters more playing time to prepare them for Friday's game against No. 2 Southern, but said that he was disciplining some of his reserves.
"I played those six because they wanted to play. The other kids are being disciplined," said Pompey. "I wasn't trying to rub it in anybody's face."
The Poets turn their attention to Southern, which they have not beaten at Southern the past two years. Southern also beat Dunbar in the Metro Classic last year at the Baltimore Arena to take the A Conference title.
St. Joe will try to get back on track this weekend in the Catholic League, where the Gaels are in first place.
"We were realistic coming in," said St. Joe coach Pat Maggio. "We knew we had to have an errorless game to compete with them. The kids understand. They will rebound."