No. 2 Dunbar soars past Poolesville for 84-52 win

Big second half sends Poets into state semis

Class 1A South boys basketball

High Schools

March 08, 2003|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Poolesville came to Dunbar last night determined to slow down the Poets. The Falcons spread the floor often in the first half, repeatedly found back-door layups and used patience to control the tempo and stay close.

But then came the second half.

The No. 2 Dunbar boys basketball team rattled visiting Poolesville with increased defensive pressure in the second half, and guards Maurice Barksdale and Herman Hayes helped the Poets break the game open quickly and cruise to an 84-52 victory in the Class 1A South regional final.

Dunbar (24-2) advances to the 1A state semifinal at 5 p.m. Friday at the Comcast Center in College Park. The Poets, who lost to Pocomoke in last year's state final, will meet the winner of today's Harve de Grace-Perryville North regional final.

The Poets scored a 99-62 victory over Poolesville (19-4) in last year's regional final and also broke that game open in the second half. But Dunbar had more trouble early in this game as the Falcons kept using their slick back-door passes and three-point shooting to stay close. The Poets held a 35-29 halftime lead and coach Eric Lee knew changes were in order.

"The game of basketball is all about adjustments," Lee said. "They had a great game plan of being patient and moving the ball ... but we put more pressure on the ball in the [second half]."

Lee switched the Poets from a man-to-man defense to a 1-3-1 zone that they rarely use. The zone let Dunbar put much more pressure on the ball.

The Falcons missed 15 of their 16 third-quarter shots, getting good looks, but often rushing. Dunbar outscored Poolesville 20-3 in the third quarter for a commanding 55-32 lead.

"When Coach said we were going to the zone, I think it surprised us," Barksdale said. "I think we surprised them [also]."

Barksdale scored 13 of his game-high 21 points in the second half. Hayes (20 points) scored Dunbar's first seven points of the third quarter as the Poets pulled away. Dunbar also got help from 6-foot-11 center Michael Thompson (10 points, 10 rebounds) who stepped up and controlled play inside against the much smaller Falcons in the second half.

The Poets held a 37-18 rebounding edge.

Gary Ward (16 points) and J.J. Cabrera (14 points) kept the Poolesville offense going by hitting several long shots. Mike Ballou (10 points) also made several nice plays, but the Falcons couldn't recover from the third-quarter dry spell.

"We had open looks and we just rushed it," Ward said. "We might have panicked a little."

Said Poolesville coach Larry Hurd Jr.: "The snowball just [got] rolling. But I'm proud of my basketball team. They weren't scared of anything."

P-Brooks 2, Ward 16, Cabrera 14, Fink 6, Riggs 4, Ballou 10. Totals: 20 7-11 52.

D-Scott 1, Roundtree 8, Hayes 20, C. Griffin 6, Selby 2, Waddy 6, Jenifer 6, Barksdale 21, Thompson 10, Carter 2, Scott 2. Totals: 31 17-20 84. Half: D, 35-29.

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