Dunbar puts end to Doves' title run

Poets prevail, 52-51, ends Western streak at 3

Wills shines in last quarter

February 24, 2000|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore City girls basketball title finally has come to Dunbar -- but not without a fierce challenge from three-time defending champ Western.

The No. 2-ranked Poets used an 8-2 fourth-quarter run and held off a last-second threat from No. 9 Western to emerge with a 52-51 victory yesterday and their first city crown.

Western's Robin Young, who had hit all three of her previous shots, tried a three-pointer with three seconds left, but the Poets' Bianca Sullivan got a hand in her face and the shot did not fall.

The Doves' Lillian Drumgold got the rebound on the far baseline and, as time expired, quickly heaved a shot toward the rim.

The host Poets (20-1), who beat Western, 69-50, in December, knew the Doves (16-6) would be tougher to beat the second time around.

"It feels great," said Poets senior center LaKesha Wills, who scored nine of her 18 points in the fourth quarter. "They had it going on for so many years, and we broke it. This is the first year for Dunbar. You have to feel great."

For much of the game, the 5-foot-10 Wills struggled against strong defense from Doves forward Joy Gorham, who got a lot of help double-teaming Wills down low.

But in the final quarter, Wills found the openings and hit every shot.

"Some of [the Doves] didn't catch their second wind, and they weren't helping as much," said Poets coach Wardell Selby, "so we figured we'd decoy, bring Kesha from one side to the other, or slash her to the foul line, where they couldn't get as much help. Kesha was just determined not to let this one get away."

The turning point in the game, which the Doves led by as many as 12 points in the first half, came midway through the fourth quarter. Wills scored seven in an 8-2 run that gave the Poets a 50-43 lead with 3: 05 to go.

During that stretch, the Doves turned the ball over on five of six possessions. Only Joy Gorham's layup off her steal interrupted the Poets' run.

"We had that little stint in the fourth quarter where we had a few turnovers, and basically, that was it," said Drumgold, who scored 13. "We never lacked intensity, but for a couple minutes, we were careless with the ball."

Young's three pointer and Stephanie Tolbert's layup for Western cut the lead to 50-48 with 1: 56 left before Tiera Little hit the Poets' game-winner 20 seconds later.

The Poets also got 16 points from Toni Kennedy, and Tiffany Jones had seven points and six assists.

Gorham had 12 points for the Doves along with 13 rebounds and three steals.

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