Dunbar adds a crown to mantel

Top-ranked Poets beat Wicomico, 45-43, for their 7th state title in 9 years

Class 2A boys basketball

March 11, 2001|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

COLLEGE PARK -- A season that began with modest expectations ended on a familiar note.

The No. 1-ranked Poets reclaimed the state 2A boys basketball championship yesterday with a 45-43 victory over Wicomico at Cole Field House.

And finishing the season with 20 consecutive victories, Dunbar (27-1) won its seventh title in nine seasons, tying Fairmont Heights of Prince George's and Thomas Johnson of Frederick for fifth most all time. The title was also the 11th for Baltimore City.

Senior point guard Kenny Minor led Dunbar with 12 points, and junior guard James Taylor contributed 11 points and three steals. James Poorman led Wicomico (26-2) with 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds.

With its lowest ranking ever at the start of the season, the Poets worked their way back to the top, including victories over Top 10 teams Aberdeen, Southern-Baltimore (twice), Douglass and Lake Clifton.

But the Poets found a Wicomico team from the Eastern Shore that was more than up for the challenge. Playing mostly zone, the Indians kept the Poets from opening up the court.

The Indians made it 45-43 with five seconds left after a jumper by Darnell Camper, but they exhausted all of their timeouts. The Poets didn't even inbound the ball.

"They had a great scheme," said Dunbar first-year coach Eric Lee. "We knew if we got up, our game plan was to bring them out of the zone."

Minor, playing on a bad ankle, hit a short jumper in the lane for a 42-37 lead with 3:29 remaining. He added two free throws for a 44-39 advantage two minutes later.

A layup by Adrian Broadie put Wicomico within three with 37.6 seconds left before a free throw by Steve Miller extended Dunbar's lead to 45-41. The Indians' final possession started with a block by Reggie Cornell (six blocks) and two other missed attempts before Camper's score.

"Like we've done the whole season, we outhustled them," said Minor, who had two steals. "We outran them on a lot of loose balls. They could have had us, but they weren't hustling as much as we were."

Wicomico, which defeated No. 4 Aberdeen in the East Regional final March 2, needed three overtimes to outlast Fort Hill of Allegany County late Friday evening in a state semifinal match.

The Indians didn't display any signs of weariness against the top-ranked Poets in the opening half, trailing 10-8 after the first quarter.

Poorman put his team ahead 18-16 on a 15-footer, then answered a score by Taylor with a three-pointer to give the Indians their largest lead of the half at 28-18 with 3:03 remaining in the second quarter.

"For the most part, we tried to shorten the game in order to get into the fourth quarter," said Wicomico coach Butch Waller. "I thought they were a little bit stronger on the boards, and that seemed to be the case on offense."

With victories by Randallstown (Class 3A) and the Poets, the Metro area has had at least one state champion in each of the past 12 seasons.

W--Camper 7, Wolff 7, Poorman 17, Mitchell 3, Brown 7, Broadie 2. Totals 17 4-10 43. D--Minor 12, Taylor 6, Miller 11, Robinson 7, Cornell 3, Molen 6. Totals 17 10-22 45. Half: 28-25, D.

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