Southern routs Dunbar to take city title, 77-55

Luckey, Scott combine for 54 to upset No. 2 Poets

February 24, 2000|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Meredith Smith could not recall the last time he had coached a Southern boys basketball team to victory over Dunbar on the Poets' home court.

But yesterday's convincing 77-55 victory over the No. 2 Poets -- which earned the seventh-ranked Bulldogs the Baltimore City League title -- will be difficult for the 19th-year coach to forget.

Southern's 6-foot-3 juniors, Darshawn Luckey and Melvin Scott, scored 29 and 25 points, respectively, including eight and 13 during a critical second quarter in which the Bulldogs turned a 12-12 first-quarter tie into a 35-23 halftime lead.

For the game, Southern (17-5) was 25-for-29 from the free-throw line, with Luckey and Smith each going 8-for-8.

Brandon Jeffers (six rebounds, three blocks) and Keon Johnson (10 assists, five rebounds, two steals) contributed nine points each for Southern, which avenged an earlier 70-64 loss at Dunbar in which it blew a 10-point lead.

"We were hungry tonight to do what hadn't been done in a while," said Scott, an All-Metro pick who also had seven rebounds, five steals and five assists. "This is one of the best wins of my career."

Dunbar's 13-game winning streak ended in what was Smith's third win of the decade over the Poets (16-5), who played their second straight game without scoring threat Darryl Dorsey (academical- ly ineligible).

After the game, Smith was greeted by Southern principal Patricia Blansfield, along with fans and former players who treated the victory as if it were his third Class 4A state title.

"It's very big -- a very, very big win -- and we'll enjoy it for a little while," said Smith, 57, whose Bulldogs will take a five-game winning streak into next week's Class 4A state playoffs. "But as big as this is, we'll have to forget about it real soon and get ready for our next game."

Southern scored the first eight points during an 11-2 second-period run that made it 23-14. The scoring spree was capped by Luckey's third of four first-half three-pointers (he had five for the game). A 12-7 run, for a 35-21 lead, was capped by Scott's alley-oop dunk off a pass from Johnson.

The Poets trailed 47-34 entering the final period, but were able to move to within 49-41 with 6: 30 to play as Jajuan Robinson (13 points) made his second of three fourth-quarter three-pointers.

But Southern was able to pull away yet again, combining five fourth-quarter field goals with 20-for-23 free-throw shooting down the stretch.

Southern pressured Dunbar's perimeter shooting by Robinson, Pierre Tucker (16 points) and Calvin Dotson (13), and was supported by the inside play of Luckey (10 rebounds), 6-6 Jeffers, 6-5 Willie Joyner (five rebounds) and 6-9 sophomore Cairo Frank (five rebounds).

"We made a lot of mistakes in the first game against them, but tonight we eliminated them," Luckey said. "We knew we could win if we executed our game plan, stayed focused."

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