Dunbar rallies late for OT win

Barksdale, Poets top Fort Hill, aim for 5th straight state title today in 1A final

Dunbar 73 Fort Hill 71

Boys basketball

March 10, 2007|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Reporter

COLLEGE PARK -- Asked where he was when quarterback Lawrence Watson and running backs Maurice Portee and Tavon Austin ripped through Class 1A rival Fort Hill for Dunbar's fourth state football title last fall, diminutive senior Eric Barksdale displayed his sense of humor.

"I had to be the team manager since I was injured," said Barksdale, a reserve defensive back. "Don't you remember? I was up there taking stats with you."

He had a much more memorable moment yesterday at Comcast Center, when Dunbar faced Fort Hill on the basketball court in a 1A state semifinal .

The 5-foot-7, 140-pound guard scored eight of his 14 points in overtime to go with six assists and four steals in a come-from-behind 73-71 victory. The win kept hopes alive for a fifth straight state title and 12th overall for the Poets (16-5).

Dunbar will face Baltimore County rival New Town (22-3) today at 1 p.m. New Town advanced with a 62-55 victory over Snow Hill (19-4) last night that ended the Eagles' 14-game winning streak.

New Town lost to Dunbar in last year's semifinals but defeated the Poets, 80-77, on Dec. 29 in Dunbar's second game of the season.

Last night, Dunbar overcame a brilliant effort by 6-foot junior Jordan Brooks, who carried the Sentinels (23-3) of Allegany County with a game-high 35 points - including 9-for-10 from the free-throw line - and four rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots.

The Poets received key contributions from Portee (23 points, three assists), Watson (10 points, 13 rebounds), Austin (eight points, three steals) and Derrell Edwards, who made three three-pointers. But when the Poets trailed 70-65 with 2:15 left, it was Barksdale who led their game-winning 8-1 run.

He made a free throw to pull Dunbar to 71-70 with 37 seconds left. And he made a subsequent steal and three-point play for the winning margin with 28 seconds left.

"I kept asking God for another chance," Barksdale said. "And He just kept on giving them to me."

After both teams missed a pair of free throws, Fort Hill called a timeout with three seconds left. The Sentinels inbounded the ball, but there was a scramble for it, and the Poets' Kenyon Kinard came up with it to seal the win.

A 15-game winning streak ended for the Sentinels, who led 63-61 after Brooks' three-pointer with 20 seconds to play in regulation. Watson hit a jumper with eight seconds left to force overtime.

"We played our hardest," said Brooks, who got help from teammates Zach Blank (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Steve Iser (11 points, five assists) before fouling out with 37 seconds left in overtime. "Being a leader, it was tough having to watch my team lose from the bench."

lem.satterfield@baltsun.com

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