Poets get by D.C.'s best, 78-70 King's 26 points stun Anacostia

December 18, 1992|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON -- It was a day that All-American Keith Booth scored only 16 points and was in foul trouble the entire second half.

It was a day that second-leading scorer Norman Nolan fouled out midway in the final period after scoring only nine.

But on a day that those things should have spelled big problems for Dunbar, Yashida King stepped up in an enormous way.

King had his best game as a varsity player, scoring 26 points as the No. 1 Poets defeated Anacostia, Washington's top-ranked team, 78-70, in the opening game of the Gonzaga Classic at Gonzaga High.

The Poets (3-0), ranked No. 5 in the USA Today Super 25, extended the country's longest current winning streak to 56 games, three shy of the school record. The last time Dunbar lost was on Dec. 14, 1990, to St. Anthony's (N.J.), 66-65, in the opening round of the Skyline Classic.

In what should be one of its toughest tests of the season, the Poets will face Bishop Loughlin, New York's No. 1 team, in a semifinal game tonight at 7 as the tournament shifts to American University.

"This is a very good win for us," said Dunbar coach Pete Pompey. "They [Anacostia] have a very athletic team. Their two guards can play. Yashida King stepped up real big for us today and played real well."

Said King, who had six assists and six rebounds: "I didn't expect to have a big game. I just wanted to play and get the ball inside to our big guys."

In his first start against Edmondson on Dec. 4, King struggled, committing a pair of turnovers as Edmondson built a 14-point lead. He was benched early in the second half of the game, which the Poets won, 88-67.

King played little in the following game against St. Raymond's (N.Y.), but did see more action in Dunbar's 90-32 rout of Patterson last Friday.

Then there was yesterday.

Facing two of the country's top guards in Mike Powell and Keith Davis, who have signed with Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth, respectively, Pompey started King at the point and Michael Cooper at shooting guard.

Davis had 26 points, mostly on drives as Booth had to play off him because of foul problems.

The Poets entered the final quarter with a 59-45 margin, which was trimmed to 65-61 with 3:14 left as Anacostia's full-court press paid benefits.

Alexander Mobley's follow-up gave the Poets a 67-61 lead, then Booth rebounded an Anacostia missed shot and got the ball to King for a breakaway dunk with 2:35 left.

"We knew Anacostia was a good squad," said Booth. "We're No. 1 in Baltimore and No. 5 in the country, so we have to play like it's big."

Despite scoring 14 points below his average, Booth, who was double-teamed, was just as effective passing the ball, with nine assists.

With 6:20 left in the third quarter, a three-point play by Nolan (eight rebounds) started a 10-0 run for the Poets, expanding their lead to 41-33.

Anacostia closed to 48-42, but Dunbar completed the quarter with an 11-3 spurt, capped by consecutive baskets by King, to lead 59-45.

"We did the things that we wanted to do," said Anacostia coach Thomas Hargrove. "We wanted to make Booth more of a passer instead of a scorer.

"We scouted Dunbar last week and No. 14 [King] didn't play hardly. He really hurt us and I thought he was the most valuable player, more so than Booth's passing."

DUNBAR -- Booth 16, King 26, Cooper 8, Booth 8, Nolan 9, Singletary 1. Totals 33 10-19 78.

ANACOSTIA -- Davis 25, Witherspoon 12, Powell 13, Townes 11, Rhames 8. Totals 30 8-16 70.

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