The Dunbar boys basketball team hadn’t played since Dec. 28, and for three-plus quarters against Milford Mill at the 22nd Baltimore City Public Schools Basketball Academy on Thursday night, it certainly looked that way.
The No. 5 Poets were simply off, mustering only 40 points and trailing by nine with under three minutes to play.
But there was still those final three minutes, and Dunbar made sure to make them count.
Behind 22 points from senior Da'Shawn Phillip, the Poets outscored the No. 6 Millers 17-2 to take hold of a game they appeared out of and claim a 57-51 win at Morgan State.
Dunbar left 8-0, handing Milford Mill (7-1) its first loss. Poets coach Cyrus Jones Sr. didn’t mind the lack of style points considering the circumstances — a long layoff, a quality opponent and a big gym.
“That’s a sign of what our team is all about,” Jones said. “Being down eight or nine with under three minutes to go and not giving up …. we just found a way to pull together when we needed it and I’m just happy and proud of my guys.”
The Dunbar defense limited the Millers to only one field goal in the fourth quarter. Still, when Milford Mill senior guard Jordan Goodwin (team-high 15 points) hit two free throws with 4:03 to play, the Millers had a 49-40 advantage.
Two plays the rest of the game depicted the Poets’ no-quit ways. Phillip had a steal at midcourt he converted into a dunk to make it 49-46 with 2:11 to play. Then, with 1:08 left, Jamal West Jr. blocked a shot underneath and Phillip grabbed the ball out of a pack and sent a long outlet pass to Jared Lewis for two points and Dunbar’s first lead of the second half, 52-51.
Phillip added two free throws on the Poets’ next possession, and they never looked back.
Jermaine Goodwyn added 13 points for the Millers, who led by as many as 10 earlier in the fourth quarter.
Both teams were slow to settle into Morgan’s bigger court with turnovers and missed shots dominating a first quarter that ended tied at 6.
The Millers took a 21-19 lead at halftime behind Goodwyn, who hit two 3 pointers and had eight points at the break. Phillip countered with eight in the first quarter and 11 in the half for the Poets.
“We started rushing, throwing away the ball unnecessarily — that’s what happened,” Milford Mill coach Ryan Smith said.
The Millers played without standout senior Ugo Obasi, who injured his foot in Wednesday’s 63-58 win at No. 15 Dulaney.
D — Phillip 22, West 15, McCormick 11, Esguerra 2, Lewis 5, Hunt 2. Totals: 18 18-31 57
MM — Goodwin 15, Turner 3, Goodwyn 13, Milton 8, Parker 6, Woods 6. Totals: 17 11-19 51
Half: MM, 21-19
No. 9 Woodlawn 61, Hammond 30: Leading by a point at halftime, the Warriors (9-1) dominated in the second half to rout the Bears.
Senior Reshaud Garrison scored a game-high 20 points to lead Woodlawn. Defense set the tone for the Warriors, who limited Hammond to just 10 points in the second half.
“I had to fire them up a little at the half and say some things I probably shouldn’t have, but it worked,” Woodlawn coach Bobby Richardson said. “We were just a little lackluster in the first half at went back to playing Woodlawn basketball.”
Senior guard Mark Brinkley added 15 points for the Warriors, while senior guard Robert Gordon had 10 for the Bears.
St. Maria Goretti 61, No. 12 Patterson 47: Tied at 46 midway through the fourth quarter, Gaels junior guard James Searcy (17 points) hit three straight 3-pointers and added another one to lead Goretti to victory.
Patterson, which was coming off a 69-47 win over No. 8 Lake Clifton on Wednesday, fell to 4-4.
The Clippers, who were held to just one made free throw in the closing seconds in the final 6:25, got a team-high 20 points from Gerard Mungo and 13 from Daesean Jones.