Dunbar ran into the "trap in the Cap [City]," last night at Annapolis. That's what Annapolis fans were saying after their No. 11 Panthers (4-0) upset No. 5 Dunbar, 60-58.
It was the first Annapolis victory over Dunbar (1-1) in five tries under coach John Brady and the Panther fans celebrated as if they had won a state championship.
Brian Barber's turnaround jumper from five feet out along the base line put the Panthers ahead 56-55 with two minutes left. John Downs (six points, five rebounds) and Ryan Dacey (11 points, three boards) each sank two free throws in the final 40 seconds and Annapolis was a winner.
Downs, who said he "shot foul shots for almost two hours before the game," hit two with 39 seconds left to give Annapolis a 58-55 lead after Dunbar had missed three shots on the other end.
Dacey's clutch free throws came with seven seconds left. The Poets' Tim Lyles hit a three with a second left to cap the scoring.
"It's a load off our minds because we worked hard for this and came into the game with a positive mind, " said Barber, a 6-7 junior forward who sang the national anthem before going out to score 10 points and grab seven rebounds.
Before last night the closest the Panthers had come to beating the Poets was a seven-point loss in 1981 when Bob Wade coached Dunbar. The two teams had last played in January 1991 at Annapolis with Dunbar prevailing, 80-61.
"Oh, it was a big win and we thought going in we had a chance, but any time you play of team of that caliber it's always a question of how you will play," said Brady.
Annapolis overcame a fine effort by Poet senior Tommy Polley, who led all scorers with 24 points, grabbed 15 boards, blocked two shots and had five steals.
"We're very young and yes, we play a lot of people [12 last night]," said Dunbar coach Paul Smith. "Polley is our only returning starter, and is one of just four players with varsity experience and we usually wear teams down.
"I saw Annapolis play Glen Burnie and we knew they like to play full-court and up-tempo like we do and we just didn't make good decisions as a group."
Dunbar took a 19-13 lead after the first period with Polley tossing in eight points. Polley had eight more in the second period, but Annapolis gained the advantage at the line sinking 8 of 11 attempts to take a 36-33 halftime lead.
"Taking the lead at halftime into the locker room gave us momentum," said Downs.
Dunbar started with four turnovers in the third period, but finished strong to outscore the Panthers, 14-9 and take a 47-45 lead. Polley's putback, and baskets by Tim Lyles (10 points, six boards) and Dwayne T. Green (seven points, five rebounds) pushed the Poets in front.
The Poets got it up to 51-45 before Linford Matthews (11 points, nine rebounds) and Dacey (three) scored to make it a 51-50 game. A follow by Phil Hyman put Annapolis up, 52-51 with 4:45 left but Polley's free throws regained the lead for the Poets, 53-52.
Diggs and Dwayne N. Green traded baskets and it was 55-54 Dunbar with 2 1/2 minutes to go. Barber's turnaround jumper gave the Panthers the lead for good.