Dunbar returns to top, 57-40 Poets rebound to claim their fifth title in six years

Class 2A boys basketball

March 15, 1998|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Dunbar coach Lynn Badham called last year's 30-point state championship loss to Thomas Johnson "a whipping."

But in yesterday's Class 2A state title game at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House, it was the top-ranked Poets (25-3) who inflicted the punishment in a 57-40 rout of a Central of Prince George's County squad that started only two seniors.

Dunbar's 6-foot-6 junior Jamal Brown, reportedly bound for Mount Zion Academy in Durham, N.C., next season, scored 13 points, and had eight rebounds and five blocked shots. Junior Dontaz Dean scored 11 with a game-high 14 rebounds and 6-4 senior Larry Tucker added 12 points and seven rebounds as the Falcons (22-5) bore the frustrations of three championship game losses suffered by the Poets.

Central, down 21-6 at the half, was led by Sean Brooks (17 points), Jerald Jenkins (10) and Edsel Lindsey (nine).

"We played a so-so game last night [Friday's 52-39 semifinal win over Middletown], but today we wanted to let our defense go to work. We knew if we did that, later on our offense would put up numbers," said Brown, who turned 19 in January and will be ineligible to play in Maryland public high school competition next season.

Brown, according to sources, will be joined at Mount Zion by former Dunbar guard Tim Lyles, who was administratively suspended from the team for disciplinary reasons earlier this year. Mount Zion last year produced Tracy McGrady of the NBA's Toronto Raptors.

The Poets, winners of five state titles this decade, were in their sixth straight state championship contest. Dunbar had won four consecutive state titles until losing to Thomas Johnson in last year's 3A final, but Badham said the Poets' loss to Douglass for the city championship was equally motivational.

"We took that one really hard because they [Douglass] really put it to us," Badham said. "But my mother's been praying hard. She came down from North Carolina and was up in the stands with my wife watching this. I just thank the Lord we were able to do this."

It was an impressive effort against Central (22-5), which has won four straight Prince George's County 1A-2A League crowns and was a 75-65 winner on Feb. 27 over No. 2-ranked Mervo.

Two games ago, Central was a 57-56 winner over last year's 2A champ Surrattsville, and the Falcons also scored an earlier 71-57 victory over Friendly, which yesterday beat No. 19 City, 55-46, for the Class 3A state title.

The Poets overcame a first period in which they missed their first seven field-goal attempts and led only, 6-4, going into the second. But, Dunbar outscored the Falcons, 15-2, in the second period.

"We wanted to establish our defense right away," said sophomore Arnold Bowie, who had four rebounds and eight points. "We were able to contain their guards with our 2-3 press and cause problems for them."

Dunbar led by as many as 23 points (33-10) in the third period after a 12-4 run comprised of four points each from Dean, Tucker and Derek Jones. Up 38-21 entering the fourth period, the Poets didn't allow Central to get closer than 15 points.

CENTRAL -- Brooks 17, Lindsey 9, Jenkins 10, Haigler 2, Wilson 2. Totals 19 3-8 40.

DUNBAR -- Tucker 12, Dean 11, Brown 13, Jones 7, Bowie 8, Johnson 4, Carroll 2. Totals 22 13-22 57. Halftime: D, 21-6.

State finals

Boys basketball

at University of Maryland

Class 1A

+ Forest Park 45, Pocomoke 43

Class 2A

% Dunbar 57, Central 40

Class 3A

$ Friendly 55, City 46

Class 4A

4( Gaithersburg 96, Oxon Hill 91 (5 OT)

Girls basketball


Class 1A

.` Oak. Mills 38, Williamsport 31

Class 2A

( Towson 48, Middletown 37

Class 3A

+ Wheaton 62, Milford Mill 39

Class 4A

Suitland 66, Arundel 61

Pub Date: 3/15/98

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