Like father, like son in 1A states

Dunbar basketball titles Selby-led: Wardell coaches girls, Byron sparks boys

High Schools

March 18, 2003|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Over the past three days, Wardell Selby and his son, Byron, must have shaken what seemed like a million hands and received as many pats on the back.

"I went to a convenience story around the corner from my house and this guy said he saw my picture on the front page of the paper. People I've never seen come up and congratulate me," said Byron Selby, a Dunbar senior. "At lunch, people let me go to the front of the line in the cafeteria. In class, teachers tell me I'm the man."

The Selbys made basketball history on Saturday night: Byron keyed the Poets' boys' 1A state championship victory, and Wardell coached Dunbar's girls to the equivalent - both over teams from Pocomoke of Worcester County on the Eastern Shore.

"There have been a number of situations where a coach of a state championship team had a son or daughter on their team, but this one's so obtuse, I don't know if we'd have a record of something like that," said Ned Sparks, director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association.

The elder Selby, 47, cheered on Byron from the stands at the University of Maryland's Comcast Center as his son anchored the boys to their eighth state title, 71-55. A few hours later, Byron returned the favor as Wardell's girls edged Pocomoke's, 53-48, for their fourth straight crown.

"With both of us winning state championships, our names will be on the banners up on the wall [of the Dunbar gymnasium]," said Byron Selby. "It's still pretty hard to believe, but maybe in 20 years, when I come back to Dunbar with my father and my own kids - maybe that's when it'll really hit me."

Byron Selby led a critical 22-7 run in the second period against Pocomoke (25-1) as Dunbar turned a 17-12 first-quarter deficit into a 34-24 lead. Selby had four offensive rebounds, two of his three steals and a blocked shot in that quarter, helping Dunbar to its 12th straight win. The victory also avenged an 18-point loss to Pocomoke in last year's championship game and halted the school's 38-game winning streak.

"Byron went out and had a super game rebounding, defensively and scoring," said Wardell Selby, who has seen his sons fall short in other title games.

Brian, 17, was on the Joppatowne football team that was 2A state runner-up to Hereford last fall. Two weeks ago, Brian and Joppatowne lost the Class 2A North regional basketball semifinal, 50-48, to eventual state champion J.M. Bennett.

"I'm always a proud parent, win or lose, but when your son has a chance to play in the state finals and come out with a team victory, it's even more beautiful," said Wardell Selby.

After telling his son, "Congratulations, you finally got one," Wardell Selby said he "had to bring myself back down and clear my mind and get myself together to get ready for the girls championship."

The Selbys - Wardell's wife, Kim, and his sons, Byron, Brian and Brandon, 12, then hopped in their car to make the 40-minute drive to UMBC for the 6 p.m. girls game.

"We talked about my game a little bit on the ride over, but my father was trying to stay focused for his game," said Byron Selby.

And the Lady Poets trailed most of the game until tying it at 45 with 3:10 to play.

"They started out losing, so I started to get a little nervous," said Byron Selby. "But then they started to come back. I started thinking we would make some kind of history, father and son."

Ahead 49-48 with 1:33 left, Dunbar got a field goal and a free throw from senior Ciarra Jones, who scored nine of her 15 points in the last period.

"When the clock got down to where there was nine seconds left, I just ran down the sideline and threw my hands up in the air," said Wardell Selby. "It's a huge accomplishment for our family, for Dunbar and for Baltimore City. And it's a tremendous thrill, being on the high that we're both on right now."

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