Dunbar nails Oakland Mills, 100-58 2A BOYS BASKETBALL

March 12, 1995|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Oakland Mills' joy-ride season had to end sooner or later. So did its nine-game winning streak.

The Scorpions' improbable dream of a Class 2A state championship yesterday crashed head-on into a reality known as the Dunbar Poets.

Dunbar (25-1), now a three-time state champ, lived up to its top seeding and No. 2 ranking by spanking second-seeded and No. 11 Oakland Mills in the championship game, 100-58.

Dunbar was led by Marvis Thornton (28 points, 12 rebounds) and Robert Foster (23 points, 13 rebounds).

Since joining the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association three years ago, the Poets have won all 12 of their state playoff games by an average margin of more than 30 points.

"This year we don't really have the one big-name go-to person. But I felt we had five pretty good players, and we could use all of their assets. You can't stop all five of us if we're working together," said Dunbar coach Paul Smith.

Superior quickness and rebounding and a 12-0 run to start the second half enabled the Poets to pull away. Dunbar out-rebounded Oakland Mills, 47-27.

"They were too big and strong and deep," said Scorpion Irving Conwell. "They played like they've been playing together for 10 years."

Oakland Mills coach Dave Appleby said: "We missed on our first three or four possessions of the second half and that discouraged us.

"It greased the skids. They are a great team and there's a small margin of error against them."

Conwell (17 points, nine rebounds) and Mike Hill (19 points) kept the Scorpions close most of the first half and had them ahead 12-8. That was as good as it got for Oakland Mills, which trailed 40-32 at halftime.

But the Scorpions (22-4) can look back on a thrilling season that few could have predicted.

Oakland Mills was 5-15 a year ago and finished in last place in the Howard County league.

No one knew how two sophomore starters, point guard Quan Davis and guard Fardan Carter, would play. Nor could anyone predict how well talented transfer Conwell would fit in.

What happened was one of those tiny miracles of sports -- a team that quickly developed a positive chemistry and a habit of winning.

Oakland Mills' only losses before yesterday were by four to Class 3A state runner-up Thomas Johnson (21-2), two to Mount Hebron (15-8) and one to county champion Atholton (22-2).

The Scorpions produced a double-overtime regional championship victory over Glenelg, 68-67, a game decided by substitute Jeff Ngare's 25-footer at the buzzer.

And it was equaled in thrills by Friday's 74-67 overtime win against South Hagerstown. Oakland Mills also had a one-point win over Wilde Lake and a three-point win over Howard.

The Scorpions were a team that triumphed with quickness, defense, and the consistently accurate shooting of Hill and Conwell. The duo combined to score at least 40 points 18 times.

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