Dunbar has little trouble with Edgewood, rolls to 80-55 victory 2A BOYS BASKETBALL

March 11, 1995|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- The off-season for Edgewood the past couple of years probably has been full of wondering what might have been.

Two straight losses in the state 2A semifinals. Total margin: six points.

It became three last night at the University of Maryland. But this time, there was no breakdown late in the game or last-second shot falling short.

The Rams made things interesting for a while, but they ultimately became the latest playoff victim of No. 2 Dunbar, which edged closer to a third straight state championship, winning, 80-55, before an estimated crowd of 3,700 at Cole Field House.

Marvis Thornton scored a game-high 30 points to lead the Poets (24-1), who have won 38 of their past 39 contests. Robert Foster added 21 and five rebounds.

Mike Baldwin led Edgewood (16-9) with 20 points, and Chris Finlay added 10.

The Poets, ranked No. 13 in this week's National Prep Poll, will play No. 11 Oakland Mills in tonight's 2A state title game at 6.

Oakland Mills defeated South Hagerstown, 74-67, in overtime in the other semifinal.

The Rams, who have lost to Hereford and Allegany the past two years at Cole Field House, used their perimeter shooting to pull within 35-31 early in the third quarter after trailing by 11 at the half.

Edgewood stayed within 10 for most of the third quarter, but the Poets used their edge in quickness and rebounding and began to pull away late in the quarter.

After a three-pointer by Clayton Harrington got Edgewood to within 47-40, Dunbar scored the final five points to take a 52-40 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Poets scored 16 of the first 20 of the final period to take a 68-44 advantage as Thornton scored 10.

Dunbar led by as many 27 points as it improved Baltimore City's state playoff mark to 40-6.

"I think we showed the character that we have all season," said Edgewood coach Bob Slagle. "We were physically outmanned and it wore us down. We were within 11 after the third quarter, and then they came out and asserted themselves."

With Thornton leading the way with 12 rebounds, nine of them offensive, Dunbar took a 45-32 lead late in third quarter. The Poets had 23 offensive rebounds.

"We started getting our hands up on their perimeter shots and boxing out," said Foster. "We started getting after loose balls instead of being lackadaisical."

It probably was easy for the Poets to relax a little, considering their state playoff history. Dunbar has won 11 state playoff games by an average margin of 31.3 points, including a 55-point victory over Stephen Decatur in last week's East region semifinals.

Finlay, Edgewood's leading scorer, committed his third foul with 2:07 left in the first half and sat for the remainder of the half.

"They played a very smart game," said Dunbar coach Paul Smith. "None of their big players got into foul trouble, and we knew they shoot the three-pointer, and they did."

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