LaFonte Johnson of second-ranked Dunbar admitted that he and his Poets teammates entered yesterday's game at No. 4 Southern with slightly bruised egos.
The Poets "expected to be undefeated" going into last night's city Eastside Division contest, according to Johnson's teammate, Dontaz Dean. Instead, they lost twice at last week's Slam Dunk To The Beach Tournament in Delaware, blowing a shot at a national ranking vs. a Good Counsel team ranked No. 1 in the Washington area and No. 7 nationally.
Dean (13 points, eight rebounds) and Johnson (14 points, six assists) took out their frustrations in yesterday's come-from-behind, 54-38 victory. They had an 18-0 run from late in the second period until midway through the third.
"That's what did it to them," Dean said. "Coach [Lynn Badham] told us that when you go into the locker room, the momentum settles into your behind. We let that happen to us once this year, but tonight, we made sure it happened to them."
Dean was 7-for-8 from the free-throw line, and Pierre Tucker scored eight points in the second half for Dunbar, which improved to 7-2 overall (2-0 league). Southern, led by Isaiah Johnson (18 points), slipped to 3-3, 1-2.
"We felt like there was a lot of hype in the city, people thinking we were down and Southern was going to beat us," LaFonte Johnson said. "We came out to prove a point that we're better than them. They're a good team, but we're better."
Southern was without starting point guard Darryl Dorsey, who averages 11 points, seven assists and two steals. A former Dunbar student, Dorsey was declared ineligible after he was discovered to have practiced for less than the 10 days required by city rules governing athletic eligibility.
Dorsey is expected to return for Friday's game against defending city champ Douglass, but the Bulldogs will be without Isaiah Johnson, who was ejected yesterday for a flagrant foul with 30 seconds left. The ejection requires the offender to miss the next contest.
Southern led 19-14, with 3: 22 left in the half, but the Poets closed with an 8-0 run for a 22-19 halftime lead.
Dunbar then reeled off the first 10 points of the third period, including six points from Arnold Bowie, and led 38-27 entering the fourth as the Bulldogs got no closer than nine points down the stretch.
Pub Date: 1/06/99