Dunbar goes long to extend title run

Poets make seven three-pointers to thwart Allegany

Dunbar 68 Allegany 47

Class 1A boys basketball

High schools

March 12, 2006|By RICH SCHERR | RICH SCHERR,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

COLLEGE PARK -- The Dunbar Poets say their annual pilgrimage to the state basketball championships never gets old.

In yesterday's Class 1A title game at Comcast Center, the East Baltimore team, best known for its speed and athleticism, created a new twist, surprising Allegany with seven three-pointers in a 68-47 win.

"Maybe they thought we couldn't hit them tonight after playing [Friday] and coming back. Maybe they thought we had tired legs," Dunbar coach Eric Lee said. "Not these kids. These kids wanted a championship."

The win gave the No. 10 Poets (21-7) their fourth straight state title and 11th since 1993 - the second-highest total in state history, next to Allegany's 14 over a span of 79 years.

Dunbar forced 18 turnovers, grabbed 13 offensive rebounds - led by center Delano Johnson (14 points, 15 rebounds) - and held the Western Maryland team to its lowest point total of the season.

Early on, it was the outside shooting of Maurice Portee (19 points), Eric Barksdale (13) and Marcus Taylor (10) that put the Poets in command. It was a great improvement from a year ago, when they shot poorly from the perimeter in College Park.

"They were bad [shooting from the outside] last year, and we didn't think they would be much better," Allegany coach Tedd Eirich said. "When they starting hitting those threes, it just tore us apart."

Dunbar took control early by hitting shots from the perimeter and forcing turnovers.

Trailing 5-4, the Poets outscored the Campers 13-1 over the next six minutes, getting three-pointers from Barksdale, Taylor and Portee to build a 17-6 lead early in the second quarter.

"The biggest thing is you turn your head and they're ahead of you," Campers center John Pande said. "They're a step quicker."

"They can just put points on the board like nothing," forward David Lattimer said. "We're not used to that kind of play back home."

Defensively, Dunbar allowed little, consistently using its tight half-court defense to force turnovers and limit Allegany to poor shots. The Campers started the game 2-for-11 from the field with seven turnovers.

The Poets said they talked about the importance of a quick start after Friday's sluggish first half against New Town. Although Allegany (24-3) rallied to cut the lead to five early in the second half, Dunbar answered by scoring 17 of the next 21 points to seal the win.

"We want to keep the tradition going," Portee said.

Said Taylor: "As the seniors leave, the other seniors want to get a chance to win their state championship."

Lee said that having 10 of the 11 players on the roster who also played on the Poets' state semifinalist football team helps give his team its toughness. Despite having to delay the beginning of practice for nearly a month while players finish the football season, it's a trade-off he's willing to make.

"Hey, we wait, and we put in a lot of long, hard hours to get what we need to get done," Lee said. "This is our reward."

D-Austin 3, Jamison 4, Barksdale 13, Satterfield 3, Portee 19, Taylor 10, Robertson 2, Johnson 14. Totals: 25 11-18 68. A- Dinicola 3, Fagan 2, Vinson 12, Wharton 2, Wolfe 1, Paige 10, Pande 9, Latimer 8. Totals: 17 8-13 47. Half: 28-21.

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