HONOLULU -- Baltimore Dunbar High School's Poets looked every inch the No. 1 team in the nation last night as they blew the host Iolani Raiders out of their socks, 111-52, in the quarterfinals of the Iolani Prep Basketball Classic.
As one fan wisecracked to no one in particular, "Whadda ya think was the turning point of this game?"
A voice from behind him quipped, "When Dunbar got out of bed this morning."
Tonight the Poets, ranked No. 1 in USA Today's standings, meet Fairley High School in the semifinals. The Bulldogs, who edged Roman Catholic of Philadelphia, 55-51, last night, were ranked No. 15 in USA Today's preseason poll.
It was the second time that Dunbar has beaten the Raiders in the classic. In 1988, Dunbar had to overcome a state record nine three-point field goals by Iolani's Kanoe Winchester to win 69-62.
The host school put up no such resistance last night. The Poets controlled the tap and ran out to a 32-11 first quarter lead. It was 64-17 at the half, but Dunbar hadn't even peaked at that point.
Through the third and fourth quarters, the Poets led by 60 or more before settling for a 59-point victory.
"We had to come out looking like a No. 1 team," said guard Michael Lloyd, who scored 23 points and had five assists. "We had to push our defense and not let them get up on us the way they did the other night."
Kamehameha, Dunbar's first opponent on Tuesday night, took advantage of the Poets' lethargy and jumped out to a surprising 11-point lead after the first quarter.
Lloyd said Poets coach Pete Pompey was, to put it mildly, upset during that game.
"Yes, I was very upset then," said Pompey as he stood outside in the balmy Hawaiian night after the rout. "But we played real well tonight in the first half: defensive rebounding, passing and shooting."
Lloyd was one of five Poets in double figures. Keith Booth had 21 points and led in rebounds with 12. Cyrus Jones had 15 points and seven steals. Donti Bright had 14 points, eight assists and nine rebounds. Paul Banks had 12 points and seven assists.
Matt Tufono, a bruising 6-foot, 215-pound senior forward who has started for Iolani for three years, was aghast.
"We felt like little boys playing with men," said Tufono. "I've never seen so many dunks in a game I played in."
Iolani coach Mark Mugiishi, a practicing surgeon, was philosophical about the worst defeat in his three years as a coach. "Athletic superiority eliminates all theory," he said.
Pompey left three starters -- Banks, Lloyd and Bright -- in until the fourth quarter even though the Poets' lead was over 60.
"It was nothing personal against Iolani," said Pompey. "We just had to keep those guys in there to get some work. They've blown everybody out except Simon Gratz (USA Today No. 3), and have been coming out of the game early."
Pompey said he learned in his two other unsuccessful appearances in the tournament, 1987 and 1988, that the Poets played poorly the day after a blowout. Dunbar lost in the semifinals both years.
Dunbar controlled the game completely, from the time that Donti Bright grabbed the ball off the tap.
Iolani did not score a basket until 3:32 of the first quarter when 6-5 Raiders center Cavan Scanlan sank one from inside the circle to make it 12-2.
Dunbar worked 10 steals in the first half with Jones getting six of them. He had four in the first quarter alone.
Booth led three players in double figures for the half with 13 points. He also had seven rebounds, five in the first quarter.
Jones and Lloyd has 11 points apiece in the half.