HONOLULU -- The nationally top-ranked Dunbar High School Poets gave Hawaiian basketball fans plenty of excitement last night in a 74-48 victory over the Kamehameha School Warriors in the opening game of the Iolani Prep Classic.
But in the first quarter it was the kind of excitement Poets coac Pete Pompey could do without.
The Warriors, champions of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, took advantage of eight first-quarter Dunbar turnovers six of them before the three-minute mark) to jump out to a stunning 25-14 lead.
Then 6-foot-6 All-American Donta Bright scored 12 of higame-high 24 points as Dunbar outscored the Warriors, 22-2, in the second quarter and then rolled to a comfortable victory.
Dunbar now is scheduled to meet the host school's team, Iolani, tomorrow at 1 a.m. Eastern time in the classic quarterfinals.
Iolani, led by 6-5 senior center Cavan Scanlan's 20 points, disposed of Sammamish High of Seattle, 63-39, in an earlier game yesterday.
Dunbar met Iolani in the opener of the 1988 Iolani Prep Classic and defeated the Raiders, 69-62.
Asked what he said to wake up his team after the nightmarisfirst quarter, Pompey grinned and said, "You can't put that in the paper."
Pompey said his Poets took too much for granted against Kamehameha, a perennial Hawaii power which thrives on a tenacious spread-'em-out defense.
"They took advantage of all the mistakes we made and forced us into errors," said Pompey. "We were not rotating properly on defense, we were not boxing out on the boards, we were one step behind the ball and they were right on top of it."
Kamehameha coach Jim Winchester said he knew Dunbar didn't take his team too seriously in the beginning.
"They came out to play against what they thought the talent level would be," he said. "They were standing around, we were getting offensive rebounds and we had guys wide open in the post."
Kamehameha's six-foot guard-forward Louie Vargas was the peskiest Warrior in the quarter with eight points, three rebounds and two steals. But Vargas said that when Dunbar shifted into gear, "It seemed like everything was spinning around us."
Poets guard Michael Lloyd, a 6-2 senior All-American, did his best to make Kamehameha dizzy with 10 steals.
Bright blamed jet lag for the team's sluggish start. The team arrived only the afternoon before the game. "But once we got it together," Bright said, "we just turned the pressure up and ran."
Bright led rebounders with 11, while 6-6 junior Keith Booth had nine.
Joining Bright in double figures for Dunbar were Lloyd, who had 15, and Booth, who had 12. Lloyd and Booth led the team in assists with five and four, respectively.
Vargas was the only player in double figures for Kamehameha with 10.
In other opening-round games, Roman Catholic of Philadelphibelted St. Louis of Honolulu, 86-42, and Fairley High of Memphis buried Radford, 80-44.
Harker Prep of Potomac, USA today's No. 10 team, was to meet Nanakuli, a small high school from Oahu's leeward coast, in one of four games today in the classic.
Kamehameha 25 02 07 14--48
Dunbar 14 22 24 14--74
* Kamehameha: Vargas 8 2-4 10, Villa 6 2-4 8, Bandman 5 0-0 5, Malloe 6 0-0 6, Oliveira 2 0-0 2, Ng 8 0-0 8, Williams 5 0-0 5.
* Dunbar: Bright 24 0-0 24, Lloyd 10 5-8 15, Banks 6 0-0 6, Jones 2 0-0 2, Mobley 2 0-0 2, Childs 4 0-0 4, Cooper 2 0-0 2, Booth 10 2-2 12, Maddox 0 2-2