Walbrook captures first city championship

Spruill's 27 points lead 65-63 win over Dunbar

Boys basketball

High Schools

February 24, 2005|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore City policeman on the parking lot near the August Waibel Gymnasium at Poly said, "There were probably as many people out here as there were inside."

The throng outside had been turned away after nearly 1,000 jammed into Poly's gym to watch No. 2 Walbrook win its first Baltimore City boys basketball championship by outlasting defending champion and No. 3 Dunbar, 65-63, last night.

Dunbar's Marcus Taylor laid one in as time ran out, but the referees ruled that it did not beat the buzzer.

Junior Rodney Spruill had a game-high 27 points and 10 rebounds for the Warriors (21-2), and senior swingman Velmar Coleman had 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocks to overcome 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds by the Poets' Eric Carter.

Craig Singleterry chipped in eight points and 11 rebounds for the Poets, and Dante Blanton-Holcomb and Nathan Irby scored 13 each.

Coleman, who had not been shooting free throws well, said he watched a tape Tuesday night of his freshman junior-varsity season when the Warriors won a city title over Dunbar and that it paid dividends.

"I noticed that I bent my knees more on JV and tried to do it tonight," said Coleman, who made three of four free throws in the last 38 seconds for the final Warriors points. Coleman's free throws came after Spruill had scored seven straight points to give Walbrook a 60-57 lead with 1:55 left.

"We had never won a city championship since the school opened in 1971," said Warriors coach Kelvin Bridgers, whose Warriors seemed to have most of the fans on their side.

"When Gus Harrington was Walbrook coach, they played Dunbar with Bob Wade as their coach back in the '80s in the city championship game at the Baltimore Arena," Bridgers said. "But Dunbar won that night.

"What we did tonight was for the school and the whole community because we've been through some rough times ... over the last year."

Few people had left after Dunbar defeated Douglass in the JV championship preliminary. Those fortunate enough to gain admission saw an unforgettable game with a furious finish.

"I thought the bucket was good, thought it beat the buzzer, but our kids left it all on the court," said Dunbar coach Eric Lee, whose Poets (16-3) played without two starters in guard Darron Edwards and forward Dilano Johnson.

Lee said Edwards and Johnson "have to concentrate on their studies" and "are finished for the season."

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