Dunbar dominates, 63-36, repeats as Class 2A titlist

Urbana can't keep up with 23-4 Lady Poets

Class 2A girls basketball

March 11, 2001|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Winning a second state Class 2A championship proved even sweeter than the first for the Dunbar girls basketball team, especially considering how easily they won.

The No. 11-ranked Lady Poets ran up as much as a 36-point lead yesterday and held Urbana without a field goal for more than 17 minutes as they cruised past the Hawks, 63-36, at UMBC.

Dunbar became the only team this year -- girls or boys -- to successfully defend its title.

"This is better for me," said senior forward Tiera Little, "because we had people telling us that we couldn't do it, and we just had to prove everybody wrong. Every game we went out there and tried to prove ourselves, and that's what we did today."

The Lady Poets (23-4) used every player on the roster to run over the Hawks (19-8) in a game that was close only until the Poets set off on a 21-1 spurt that pushed their lead to 31-11 in the final minute of the first half.

"I was really surprised," said point guard Tiffany Jones, "because I knew they were big and they weren't going to give up, so I thought we would have a little more competition, but our pride and our intensity pushed us. That team can't really run and we just ran them out, even our big girls."

The Lady Poets had the edge in the backcourt with Jones, Toni Kennedy and Teara Williams keeping the pressure on the Hawks' guards and limiting the opportunities for Katie Armentrout and Kathleen Vistica to feed the ball inside.

Although the Hawks figured to have the inside edge, the Lady Poets used a lot of help in their quick man-to-man defense to hold Urbana's leading scorer, 6-foot-1 senior forward Pam Kenney, without a field goal. Kenney, who was averaging 13.8 points, went 0-for-10 from the field and 2-for-9 from the foul line to finish with two points.

"We knew she scored 18 points [in Friday's semifinal]," said Lady Poets coach Wardell Selby. "We put a lot of pressure outside and then we rotate when we need to switch. When we get weak-side help from our guards, it takes a lot of pressure off Tiera, because she's not the tallest forward in the world (5-8), but she's a smart ballplayer."

The Hawks (19-8) struggled with their shots and went 0-for-16 from the field during a 17-minute, 23-second stretch through the middle of the game. When the drought started, the Hawks had an 8-2 lead. When it ended, the Lady Poets had run up a 47-14 lead with 1:40 left in the third quarter."[Dunbar] just did a good job doing what needed to be done," said Urbana coach Betsy Reinert. "They put the ball in the hole and got some good steals and converted them. Conversion was our biggest problem."

The Hawks, thanks to only four field goals in the last five minutes, finished at 23 percent shooting for the game. They also struggled from the free-throw line, hitting just 16 of 37 attempts.

The Lady Poets shot 41 percent from the field and, just as in their semifinal victory over Fairmont Heights, had a big first-half advantage on the boards, 29-16. Little scored seven of her nine points in the first half and finished with 11 rebounds.

But there couldn't be enough game balls to go around to all the Dunbar players who contributed key performances to yesterday's game.

While Tiffany Jones (15 points, six assists), Kennedy (nine points, three steals) and Little put up the biggest numbers, Jolunda Leake and Shalane Price scored eight each. Tameka Jackson had six rebounds as well as a key block and steal that helped the Lady Poets rally from their 8-2 deficit.

"It's a better feeling [to win] this year, because we repeated and we did it as a team," said Jackson, who along with Little were the only seniors on the team.

U--Armentrout 10, Orelli 2, Bennett 2, Mills 9, Wilkinson 5, White 6, Kenney 2. Totals: 10 16-37 36. D--Kennedy 9, Hill 6, Melvin 2, Woody 2, T.Jones 15, Leake 8, Price 8, Little 9, Ames 2, C.Jones 2. Totals: 20 18-25 63. Half: 31-13, D.

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