Walbrook victory ends Dunbar jinx

Warriors' 66-62 win first over Poets since 1989

Boys basketball

High Schools

January 16, 2004|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

"He's a spiritual man," Nina Bridgers said of her husband, Kelvin, explaining how Walbrook's boys basketball coach coped with a number of narrow defeats last season.

But her man was in heaven after last night's 66-62 non-divisional victory over No. 5 Dunbar (8-2), one of the teams his Warriors barely lost to a year ago during a chilly winter season.

Velmar Coleman scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, and Dustin Lawson got 12 of his 14 points in the second and third periods as the ninth-ranked Warriors (7-3) withstood a fierce comeback by the visiting Poets.

It was Walbrook's first win over Dunbar since 1989.

Dunbar's Nathan Irby scored seven of his 10 points in the fourth quarter, but he missed his first of two free throws -- and a chance to tie the score at 61 -- with 35 seconds left.

Down 64-60 with 15 seconds left, Dunbar's Byron Roundtree (15 points) and Craig Singleterry (12) rimmed out on consecutive three-point tries.

"We knew Dunbar would make a run, but our kids answered it," said Kelvin Bridgers, whose team was coming off a loss to Oxon Hill of Prince George's County, which Dunbar has beaten. "Our kids played with fire for four quarters against a team that wouldn't quit."

Walbrook's 57-56 loss last winter at Dunbar was among several heartbreaking defeats suffered by the Warriors, who led at halftime in all but one of its eight setbacks during a 24-game season. In all eight losses, Walbrook was overtaken in the final two minutes.

"Dunbar fought back tough, but we played extraordinarily in the second half and I'm proud of that," Coleman said. "We wanted to put last year behind us."

The Poets tried to bring back sore memories, twice overcoming 10-point deficits in the second quarter to pull within 29-23 at halftime.

Then Roundtree and Singleterry sparked a 17-9 third-quarter run by the Poets, who tied the score for the first of three times (at 40-40) on Singleterry's put-back with just over two minutes left.

Dunbar enjoyed a short-lived two-point lead before Walbrook's Ed Tyson (10 points) tied the score at 46 entering the last period.

"You fight back, fight back and fight back, and you lose a lot of energy fighting back," said Dunbar coach Eric Lee. "Once you fight back, then you relax, and they're out in front again."

Coleman set the tone in the fourth quarter, following his three-pointer with a double-pump jumper that he shot over the outstretched arms of two defenders in the paint.

Walbrook's 6-foot-5 Armond Gardener had eight each in points and rebounds, and Dunbar's Barry Jenifer, 12 points and six rebounds.

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