Simon Gratz shuts down Dunbar, 61-44

January 17, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

It is almost inconceivable that a team can hold Dunbar High to a single basket in eight minutes of basketball.

But that's exactly what happened last night at the Towson Center, where Simon Gratz's monster defense nearly checked the Poets without a point in the third quarter.

As a result, the nation's No. 1-ranked team forcefully eliminated the Poets from national championship contention with a 61-44 victory in the second annual Charm City Classic at the Towson Center.

Dunbar (9-3) was still within striking distance at the half, but went scoreless for nearly seven minutes in the third quarter while Gratz scored 17 straight points and built an insurmountable lead.

With 1:02 left in the quarter, Eric McNeil finally scored on a reverse layup after the Poets had missed seven attempts and committed four turnovers.

By then, the Bulldogs (19-0) had completed a 27-6 run and soared to a 40-19 advantage.

"We didn't help ourselves at all," said Dunbar coach Pete Pompey, whose team committed 17 turnovers and hit 27.6 percent from the field (16 of 58).

"We just didn't take good shots. We were horrible, probably because they were pretty good. They just forced us into bad situations on the floor."

That ensured an 0-for-6 performance by Baltimore teams in the two-day event that showcases some of America's top talent, with Dunbar losing to No. 4 St. Anthony, 53-48, in addition to

Gratz.

A technical foul against Dunbar's Michael Cooper after a personal foul abetted the decisive third-quarter surge as Gratz piled up five points on one sequence.

Dunbar sliced into the margin in the fourth quarter, thanks to an outbreak of three-pointers, chiefly by McNeil and Alexander Mobley, but it only served to make the final score more respectable.

The Poets scored more points in the fourth quarter (23) than they had in the first three (21).

Gratz exploited Dunbar's ball-handling weakness to control the nation's 10th-rated team, holding All-American Keith Booth to four points on 2-for-11 shooting. Booth committed five turnovers and fouled out.

"I think we caught them off guard," said Bulldogs coach Bill Ellerbee. "Usually, we come with a straight man-to-man, but we went to a zone to try to cover some of the holes.

"We tried to cut off the dribble penetration of Keith Booth. We're struggling a little offensively, but defensively we're right there . . . and defense wins games."

"It was just good all-around team defense," said center Rasheed Wallace, considered America's leading college prospect. In its fourth game in five days, Gratz hit only 34.1 percent from the floor, but knocked down 31 of 39 free throws and effectively limited its turnovers to 11.

Forward Rondell Turner led the scoring with 12 points and Jamal Redmond added 11, but it was basically a balanced effort. Six players had at least six points.

Wallace scored seven, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots and guard Terrell Stokes had nine points, six assists and three steals.

The Poets never led after Gratz scored the first five points and were tied only once -- at 13 when Wallace was called for goaltending on a Norman Nolan attempt.

Dunbar, 4-for-20 from three-point range, received 12 points and 13 rebounds from Nolan, who made the all-tournament team with Redmond and Wallace.

Nolan led the tournament with 24 rebounds overall.

The tourney MVP was Jalil Roberts of St. Anthony and his running mate in the frontcourt, Roshown McLeod, also made all-tourney.

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