If you're a Walbrook fan, first the good news. The fifth-ranked Warriors gave up just four baskets to No. 1 Dunbar during a nine-minute mid-game span last night.
Now the bad news.
The host Poets spent most of that time at the foul line, hitting 16 of 20 to blow open the game en route to a 93-74 win.
"I heard through the week that they weren't going to give us the easy dunks," said Dunbar guard Michael Lloyd. "We knew we'd have to hit a lot of foul shots to win this."
Walbrook committed 33 fouls, to Dunbar's 18, as Jermaine Porter, Lydell Rhodes and Antwan Wingo each fouled out late in the game. The Poets took advantage by hitting 34 of 43 free throws.
"These were just two really physical teams going at each other up and down the court," said Dunbar coach Pete Pompey. "The fact that we were able to make our free throws was a big factor in us getting the big lead."
The win was the Poets' 45th straight and 23rd this season. Walbrook, however, wanted to make sure that it didn't come easy.
"We came to play physical," said Warriors forward Jermaine Porter. "We fouled a lot, but we hung in there."
The Poets started strong, hitting four of their first five shots to lead, 10-2, after 1 minute, 46 seconds. But, behind the hot shooting of forward Jermaine Porter (12 first-quarter points) Walbrook kept the game within reach, trailing 25-18 at the end of the first quarter, and 41-31 near the end of the half.
But that's when Dunbar got rolling.
The Poets used pressure man-to-man defense to create Walbrook turnovers. At the offensive end, Dunbar then took the ball to the basket, where most of the time, it got fouled underneath.
Over the next 8:43, Dunbar outscored the Warriors, 21-7 -- with 13 of those points coming from the foul line -- to go up 62-38 with 2:36 to play before halftime.
"We wanted to slow the game down and wear them down, but it got into a ripping and running kind of game," said Walbrook coach Gus Herrington, whose team fell to 12-8, 6-3 in the conference. "First we committed a couple of charges, then a couple of reach-ins . . . before long it just ballooned in our faces. They did a good job of taking advantage."
Lloyd led Dunbar with 24 points and five steals. Keith Booth and Donte Bright also contributed 22 and 19 points, respectively.
Pompey, however was quick to point out the good defensive play of two other starters, guards Paul Banks and Cyrus Jones.
"Those kids are the glue that keeps us together," said Pompey. "They're the blue-collar workers. They play hard defense, work hard on offense, and hustle."
And on this night, like the rest of the Poets, they make free throws.