Douglass' perfect ending: 1st state title, 28-0 record

No. 1 Ducks outlast Gwynn Park, 76-72

March 10, 2002|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - Over the years, Baltimore's Frederick Douglass High School has looked back with pride on the achievements of such graduates as former Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall, jazz master Cab Calloway and Kweisi Mfume, former congressman and current president of the NAACP.

Now, the 2001-02 Mighty Ducks basketball team has earned its place in the proud Douglass tradition, not to mention in Baltimore City's rich basketball history.

Yesterday in the boys Class 3A state final at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House, top-ranked Douglass outlasted Gwynn Park of Prince George's County, 76-72, to win its first state championship and lay claim to being the greatest team in school history.

Tyler Smith, Richard Dorsey and Gerald Brown combined for 59 points and 22 of the team's 36 rebounds as Douglass ran the table to finish with a 28-0 record.

Since Baltimore City public schools began participating in the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association state tournament in 1992-93, Southwestern had held the top season record at 27-0 (1996-97) until yesterday.

"It's been an unbelievable season and our kids showed up to play in all the big games," said seventh-year Douglass coach Rodney Coffield.

Before playing under MPSSAA rules, which include a game limit, Bob Wade-coached Dunbar teams went 31-0 in 1982-83, and 29-0 in 1981-82 and 1984-85. Dunbar's 1991-92 team went 28-0 under Pete Pompey.

Completing a perfect season by beating highly talented Gwynn Park (24-3) was not easy, especially when go-to man Smith missed his first seven shots from the field.

The Mighty Ducks had just a 10-9 lead after the first period last night after ringing up 33 in the opening eight minutes Thursday on their way to a 105-74 semifinal romp over Chopticon.

"I was too anxious at the start; just had to chill and let the game come to me," said Smith, who lit up the arena in the second period with five three-pointers.

Smith, who had a game high 25 points, was 5-for-6 from three-point range in the second period to carry Douglass to a 35-18 lead. Gwynn Park closed the half with a dunk by Tariq Bond and a basket by Louis Hinnant, who led the Yellow Jackets with 20 points, to cut their deficit to 35-22.

"As Tyler clicks, we click," said Coffield, whose team led the rest of the way.

"We had to regroup. Tyler got going and Richard [Dorsey] made a couple monster dunks, blocked shots and started rebounding."

Dorsey, a 6-foot-7 center who is listed as a senior but has played only one year of organized basketball and could return, had 20 points and game-high totals of 12 rebounds and eight blocked shots in dominating the post.

"It seemed like every time I got a dunk, it gave us momentum," said Dorsey, a 17-year old transfer from New Foundation, which has no basketball program.

Dorsey had four dunks in the game. His alley-oop on a pass from Smith gave the Ducks their last two points of the first period. Another Dorsey alley-oop on a feed from junior point guard Dereck Brooks (nine points, three assists and two steals) gave Douglass a 48-34 lead with 2:20 left in the third period.

But the Yellow Jackets would not go away and cut it to 48-40 with 55 seconds left on three straight baskets by Hinnant.

Douglass answered with a 6-0 run to take a 54-40 lead into the final period. Dorsey opened the fourth with a big dunk and, halfway through, Douglass had a 65-50 lead.

But Gwynn Park then went on a 14-4 run to get within 69-64, those last points coming on a three-pointer by Edwin Davis.

"We were tired and were sagging on defense," said Dunbar senior Darryl Edwards (six rebounds, five steals).

"You work hard all year and the kids do all the things the right way; it's just a shame they had to lose," said Gwynn Park's 10th-year coach Steve Matthews, who has taken his team to the final three times and come up short by a total of eight points.

GWYNN PARK-Banks 16, Hinnant 20, Bond 7, Davis 9, Sesker 14, Hawkins 2, Quarles 4. Totals: 29 13-14 72.

DOUGLASS-Smith 25, G. Brown 14, Edwards 8, Dorsey 20, Brooks 9. Totals: 30 10-18 76. Half: D, 35-22.

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