Clifton dumps Dunbar, 63-55 No. 1 Poets' defeat is its first to area team since March 1990

January 23, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

Last weekend, Dunbar High's national title aspirations were whisked away at the Charm City Classic in losses to St. Anthony and Simon Gratz.

Last night, the No. 1 Poets surrendered their supremacy in the Baltimore area.

Before a crowd estimated at 6,000 at Morgan State's Hill Fieldhouse, second-ranked Lake Clifton handed Dunbar its first defeat to an area team since March 3, 1990, pulling away in the stretch for a 63-55 win.

The Lakers (10-3, 5-0) also gained the undisputed lead in the MSA Gamper Conference, 4A-1A Division in a battle of the league's two previous unbeatens.

"It's been a while, that's for sure," said Lake Clifton coach Charlie Moore, whose team had not beaten the Poets in eight straight meetings.

"It was a big win. Champions are hard to bring down."

Dunbar (9-4, 4-1) never led after Alexander Mobley tapped in the first points of the fourth quarter to put the Poets ahead 43-42.

Bernard Williams hit the next two for the Lakers and they went on to a 55-48 advantage, chiefly because they hit their foul shots and Dunbar didn't.

"We made them at the opportune times and they didn't," said Moore. "And for the most part we played intelligently and executed well."

Dunbar's weakness is supposedly in the backcourt, but Sean Lipscomb did a respectable job in his first start at point guard. Still, the Poets were undermined by turnovers, particularly in the first half.

"Lake's pressure didn't hurt us," said Poets coach Pete Pompey. "Our kids handled it pretty well. But we had a lot of unforced errors trying to get the ball inside."

Dunbar hit only three of 13 free throws in the first half and was 3-for-7 in the fourth period. Meanwhile, the Lakers knocked in 12 of 18 in the final eight minutes.

Pompey wouldn't minimize the play of Lake Clifton, but we wasn't happy with the officiating, saying "you hate to lose a game like that. They let them [Lakers] get away with a lot of things. But give them credit. Their kids played smart."

Dunbar had not lost to an area team since Southern scored a 60-57 decision in the MSA A Conference title game at the Baltimore Arena. The last time Lake Clifton beat the Poets, it was 74-67 before another full house at Hill Fieldhouse.

Guards Shawnta Rogers (19 points) and Kevin Norris (16 points, six assists, six rebounds) did the major damage for the Lakers, but Terrance Payne also was a force with seven blocked shots and 12 rebounds to go with seven points.

All-American Keith Booth had 18 points and Norman Nolan added 17 for the Poets, who were rated 17th nationally this week.

"People expect a whole lot out of Dunbar basketball," said Pompey. "Dunbar people have been spoiled. But we're young and we have to regroup and continue to work hard."

"Our kids were determined and deserved this one," said Moore. "But there might be another day."

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