Dunbar inbounds itself into state semis, closing Southern era, 46-44

Roundtree's basket at :01 tops Bulldogs, who join Digital Harbor next year

Class 1A North boys basketball

High Schools

March 07, 2004|By Sam Atkinson | Sam Atkinson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It wasn't the play Dunbar coach Smiley Lee had conceived, but the end result was what he had envisioned.

With the score tied at 44, the defending Class 1A state champion Poets (20-2) had only one second to inbound the ball under the basket and win the 1A North regional final over host Southern of Baltimore yesterday.

Barry Jenifer was supposed to get the ball, but senior Bryon Roundtree was unexpectedly left open under the basket, and his lay-in as time expired gave No. 3 Dunbar a thrilling 46-44 victory.

"I just came to the ball and I was wide-open," said Roundtree, who finished with 12 points. "I guess they didn't want to foul me. They just gave it to me."

As the Poets and their fans stormed the court in jubilation, the Southern players looked on in disbelief. The last game of the Southern basketball program had just come to a dramatic close.

"That was a long one second," said Southern senior Jerrell Green, who scored a team-high 15 points. "We were in a 2-3 [defense], and I don't know how he got that wide-open. He just snuck under there.

"I would have rather had them blow us out then beat us with one second left on a layup."

Southern (20-4) will become part of Digital Harbor at the conclusion of this school year.

"I am kind of sorry and kind of happy," said Lee about Southern's final game. "We won their last game. It's over. There are no more Dunbar-Southern games."

Dunbar advances to the 1A state semifinals, where it will face 1A East champion Cambridge at 3 p.m. Friday at the Comcast Center in College Park. The Poets have eight state championships to their credit.

The sixth-ranked Bulldogs took a 19-18 halftime lead only to come out flat in the third quarter. Southern went scoreless for five minutes and trailed 25-19.

Green brought his team back with back-to-back three-pointers with the latter giving the Bulldogs a one-point advantage. Southern kept the lead into the fourth quarter only to see Roundtree hit a three to tie the game at 34 with 6:15 left.

Dunbar sat on the ball late as Camontae Griffin (10 points) threw up a one-handed layup to give the Poets the lead. Southern's Desean Williams (14 points) answered with a jumper in the lane to tie the game 44-44.

Griffin ran the clock down to under 5 seconds and was driving as the Poets' coaches called a timeout with one tick left. That would set up Dunbar's game-winning play and close one of Baltimore City's most successful basketball programs.

"What can you say, it went down to one second," said Southern coach Michael Wise. "It could have gone either way. I love these kids."

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