Dunbar girls struggle in 41-36 loss to Smithsburg

Poets can't overcome early jitters, fall in Class 1A state semifinal

March 13, 2010|By Jeff Seidel | Special to The Baltimore Sun

The Dunbar girls basketball team averaged 87 points in its first three playoff games. The Poets fell well short of that Friday night.

Dunbar scored only one point in the first quarter, needed almost 10 minutes to get its first basket and trailed the entire game. The Poets' slow start allowed Smithsburg to get some early confidence, and the Leopards came away with a 41-36 victory in a Class 1A state semifinal at UMBC's RAC Arena.

This was Dunbar's first state final four appearance since 2003, and the Poets finish with an 18-6 record.

Dunbar coach Wardell Selby said his team battled some jitters. Selby added that he has never heard his players as quiet as they were on the bus ride to UMBC, and the slow start didn't help matters.

"It was a big stage that we were playing on," Selby said. "They were a bit nervous."

That showed as Dunbar shot only 14 percent in the first half (4-for-29). Cache Davis made a jumper from the top of the key with 6:03 left in the second quarter for Dunbar's first basket. Smithsburg took an 18-11 halftime lead, and the Poets shot 33 percent in the second half but never got closer than three points.

Michelle Wright led Dunbar with 12 points and Davis added 10 points and 13 rebounds, but the Poets didn't show a lot of patience on offense. They missed 18 of 21 3-point attempts.

"We didn't have our normal intensity," Davis said. "We tried to rush our 3-pointers more than setting our feet [and shooting]. It just wasn't our day."

The Poets used tough defense to stay in the game. They forced 25 turnovers with various presses and traps - but Dunbar scored only 11 points off those miscues. The Poets held Smithsburg scoreless in the final 4:30 but couldn't come back.

Katie Sprecher led the Leopards (18-6) with 22 points and 14 rebounds.

D-S. Buie 8, Lawson 3, DeShields 2, Wright 12, Tayong 1, Davis 10. Totals: 14 5-11 36.

S-Hargreaves 2, Andrukat 6, Sprecher 22, Rishell 6, Nickels 5. Totals: 14 13-17 41. Half: S, 18-11.

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