When: Friday, 5:15 p.m.
Coaches: Harry Martin, Patterson; Cyrus Jones, Dunbar
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Patterson: Aquille Carr, Jr., G; Myrek Lee-Fowlkes, Jr., G; Shakir Brown, Sr., F
Dunbar: Donte Pretlow, Sr., G; Evan Singletary, Sr., G; Aaron Parham, Sr., F
Outlook: The area’s most highly anticipated game of the regular season should live up to its billing and may come down to the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. The visiting Clippers are defending Baltimore City champions and haven’t lost to a league foe since the 2009-10 season. Carr, last year’s All-Metro Player of the Year, is the team’s catalyst and limiting him will be the Poets’ top priority. The Poets also know they need to stay aware of the rest of the Clippers’ talented lineup, particularly Lee-Fowlkes and Brown. Pace of the game will be critical. Carr and the Clippers like to get up the court in a hurry and are capable of scoring points in bunches. The Poets, two-time defending Class 1A champs, pride themselves on defense, limiting opponents to 45 points per game. That may be an ambitious number on Friday, but keeping Carr and the Clippers from hitting their full stride will be a huge key, and they will welcome the challenge. The Poets have been incredibly efficient at both ends with a number of players capable of stepping up at a given time. Pretlow and Singletary are smart with the ball, and Parham leads a versatile frontocurt. Rebounding, executing on offense and making free throws in the fourth quarter could all decide the outcome.