Dunbar's streak is stopped cold after 57 games Roman Catholic (Pa.) takes 41-37 victory

December 20, 1992|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON -- Some sat quietly. Some just stared. Others were able to smile and even sign a couple of autographs.

For the first time since Dec. 14, 1990, the Dunbar Poets lost a basketball game. It happened on the same court where they enjoyed probably one of their sweetest victories during the past two-plus seasons.

Last night at American University's Bender Arena, No. 1 Dunbar (5-1) was defeated by Roman Catholic of Philadelphia, 41-37, in the championship game of the Gonzaga Classic, ending the nation's longest high school winning streak at 57 games.

"I can't remember the last time we lost a game," said Dunbar coach Pete Pompey, whose team fell two short of the school record for consecutive victories. "The kids played well, but we hurt ourselves. We didn't shoot well, and it was bound to happen in a game like that. And Roman Catholic played well."

The Poets, who averaged 77 points in tournament victories over Anacostia (D.C.) and Bishop Loughlin (N.Y.), managed only two points in the second quarter and missed 31 of 46 shots overall.

Pompey had to spend most of the night going deep onto his bench because of foul trouble. The Poets' final two chances to win came from reserve guard Omar Parker.

Parker made a key defensive play, forcing a traveling call on Roman Catholic (6-2) with a little more than a minute left, but his jumper hit off the side of the backboard with 25 seconds left.

Dennis Bohn grabbed the rebound, tried to dribble some time off and was fouled. He hit the front end of a one-and-one, giving Roman Catholic a 39-37 lead with 13 seconds left. He missed the second shot, then intercepted a Dunbar pass at midcourt. But his momentum caused him to travel.

Dunbar had a final chance for victory, but Parker's short jumper missed with seven seconds left. Dwayne Hill got the rebound, was fouled and made the ensuing one-and-one free throws for Roman with four seconds left.

Although Keith Booth, Dunbar's star senior forward, didn't get the ball for the final shot, Pompey said he was proud of Parker's effort.

"It's a credit to him to have the guts to take that shot," he said. "He gave us the chance earlier to win, when he forced that turnover with a little over a minute left.

"I have no problem with him taking that shot. If it had gone in, he would have been a hero. It was a great shot. You think you wouldn't want Omar shooting the ball in that situation, but he was where we wanted the ball to be shot from."

Booth and junior center Norman Nolan each scored 12 for the Poets, but both had foul troubles.

It was that kind of game for Dunbar. Roman Catholic, ranked No. 22 in the USA Today Super 25, attempted just 28 shots, making 14. Marc Jackson was their leading scorer with 15 points.

Roman Catholic's free-throw shooting (12-for-23) aided Dunbar as it overcame a deficit as large as nine points in the second half.

Alexander Mobley, in foul trouble in the first half, scored seven points as the Poets closed the gap to 33-25 after three periods.

With Dunbar trailing 36-27, Nolan made two jumpers, then a three-pointer from left corner to bring them to 36-35. Booth and Parker each made one of two free throws as the Poets took a 37-36 lead with 2:14 remaining.

Hill, who scored 13 for Roman Catholic, made a jumper to give it a 38-37 lead. That lead held up to defeat Dunbar, ranked No. 5 by USA Today and the defending national champion.

"When you beat a team with the reputation of a Dunbar, it's tremendous," said Roman Catholic coach Dennis Seddon. "We realized that we were fortunate that their shooting was off, but we will take advantage of that. They are a great team and I'm sure that they will start their streak again."

ROMAN CATHOLIC -- Tabb 6, Alexander 2, Jackson 15, Bohn 5, Hill 13. Totals: 14 12-23 41.

DUNBAR -- Nolan 12, Cooper 3, Mobley 7, Booth 12, Parker 3. Totals: 15 3-9 39.

Roman Catholic 8 10 15 8 -- 41

Dunbar 13 2 10 12 -- 37

It's over

Dunbar's previous loss was to St. Anthony's (N.J.), 66-65, in a semifinal of the Skyline Classic at St. Peter's College in Jersey City, N.J., on Dec. 14, 1990. The Poets began their winning streak two days later with a 69-65 win over Marist (N.J.) in the consolation game. A week later, the Poets avenged the loss to St. Anthony's in the Gonzaga Classic at American University. The Poets won 23 straight after the loss to St. Anthony's to finish the 1990-91 season 27-1. In 1991-92, the Poets went 29-0, including nine wins over nationally ranked opponents, to push the streak to 52, and it had grown to 57 before last night.

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