Dunbar boys cruise to second straight Class 1A state crown

March 12, 2011|By Glenn Graham, The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK — — In the past two days at the University of Maryland, for a couple hours in each, the Dunbar boys basketball team took over the Comcast Center court like it was its own.

The No. 4 Poets, prepped by their demanding regular-season schedule in Baltimore City, proved to be a cut above the rest of the Class 1A field. Their final assignment was Saturday's state championship game against Williamsport.

Getting separation in the second quarter and then controlling the second half with defense, Dunbar repeated as champions, bringing home the program's 13th state crown with a thorough 64-43 win over the Wildcats from Washington County.

Senior forward Devante Wallace had a 23-point, 10-rebound performance, junior forward Aaron Parham added 15 points and 10 rebounds, and strong team defense forced 18 turnovers.

Proud of his team's season-long effort, four-year coach Cyrus Jones said the high expectations the program has long established was met this season, as the Poets finish with a 24-3 mark.

"One of our goals each year is to always get back here at Comcast and not only to get here, but also to win it," he said. "In my tenure, we've been successful [getting to states] the last four years except for one. So we want to try to continue that Dunbar tradition, that history, and anything short of a state championship is an unsuccessful year for Dunbar High School."

After Dunbar shot an impressive 60 percent from the field (45 percent from behind the three-point line) in Friday's 76-50 semifinal win over No. 14 Owings Mills, the defense took the lead role when the Poers pulled away from the Wildcats (23-4) in the second half.

Up 31-23 at the break, they limited Williamsport to just seven field goals the rest of the way, going on a 9-2 run at the start of the third quarter that quickly pushed the lead to 40-25 with 5:44 left. Parham, who scored seven of his 15 points in the run, set the tone by converting a three-point play inside on the Poets' opening possession.

"Dunbar has a storied tradition of winning — and coming here [to Comcast Center] and winning again is just a great feeling," Wallace said. "Hopefully they can come back and win next year when I'm off to college."

The Poets opened their season with 13 straight wins and closed it out on an eight-game winning streak — their only losses coming against ranked Baltimore City rivals Edmondson, Patterson and City.

"When you play against teams like Patterson, City and Edmondson — they play tough and scrappy the whole game and it's a 32-minute battle," said Wallace. "When you play against other teams … they're not used to playing city teams and the way we play defense. So as [the postseason] goes along, it gets easier— like you saw tonight."

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

Boys basketball

Class 1A state championship

(at University of Maryland's Comcast Center)

4 Dunbar 64, Williamsport 43

D -- Singletary 11, Wallace 23, Parham 15, Alston 8, Harrison 3, Gibson 2, Jones 2. Totals: 24 10-14 64.

W – Wise 7, McCauley 13, Christy 10, Arnone 5, Green 4, Aleshire 2, Butts 2. Totals: 16 6-9 43.

Half: D, 31-23

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