Dunbar spoils S. Decatur dream of big upset, 59-47 Taller Poets step up, press on to 2A East title

Boys basketball

March 08, 1998|By Stephen O'Toole | Stephen O'Toole,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

BERLIN -- There would be no storybook ending for the !B Cinderella team from the Eastern Shore -- Jamal Brown made sure of it.

The 6-6 Dunbar junior scored a game-high 22 points, including four slam dunks, to lead the Poets past Worcester County's Stephen Decatur, 59-47, in the Maryland Class 2A East region championship game here last night.

"I knew my role was to step up," Brown said, explaining that he wanted to exploit his size advantage over the Seahawks' 6-2 post players.

The top-ranked Poets (23-3) jumped out to a 19-9 lead by the end of the first quarter and never led by fewer than six points the rest of the way, thwarting several Decatur comeback attempts.

"I'll give it to them, they played us tough," said Brown.

The win sends the Poets to the state semifinals in College Park next weekend, which has been the team's goal all along, according to coach Lynn Badham.

"They wanted to go back to Cole Field House," he said. Dunbar lost in the Class 3A state championship game last year.

Badham said the biggest challenge in the postseason has been keeping his team motivated since the suspension of Timmy Lyles, who was averaging about 25 points a game for the Poets.

Seahawks coach Bob Mitchell said his team was "excited about the challenge" of playing a team ranked No. 18 in the nation, but he didn't think intimidation was a factor.

"I don't think we backed down," he said.

Mitchell said Dunbar's mix of size and talent was ultimately the difference. "They're not just tall, they're athletic," he said.

While dominating inside, Dunbar also rattled Stephen Decatur with full-court pressure, forcing 21 turnovers.

Jake Jones led the Seahawks with 10 points. Larry Tucker added 14 points for the Poets.

Pub Date: 3/08/98

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