Dunbar senior guard Daxter Miles has shown a knack for the dramatics when the No. 2 Poets have played Edmondson this season.
In an epic Baltimore City boys basketball championship game Tuesday at Morgan State — a well played and tightly contested battle that didn't have a defining moment until overtime, largely because neither team would budge — Miles once again stepped up at the opportune time.
Trailing by two with nine seconds left in overtime, Miles sank a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Poets a thrilling 74-73 win over the No. 5 Red Storm for their second straight Division 1 championship.
Edmondson had one last possession, but Myrek Lee-Fowlkes' 3-point try from the right corner was off the mark, and the Red Storm was unable to grab the rebound for a follow try.
Miles finished with a team-high 24 points, offsetting a stellar 35-point performance from Edmondson senior guard Isaiah Tripp.
"This is what you play for. When the game is on the line, I want to take the last shot — everybody does — and when you hit it, it's an even better feeling," said Miles, who scored Dunbar's last 13 points in a 82-75 double overtime win against Edmondson on Jan. 9. "God was with me, my teammates believed in me, and I was able to hit it."
Junior guard Kamau Stokes, who finished with 20 points, played a big role getting the Poets into overtime with his own heroics in the fourth quarter.
With 1:04 to play in regulation, Tripp finished off a strong drive to give the Red Storm a 63-58 lead — the biggest for either team in the second half. But, much like the regular season game, when Dunbar rallied from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit, the Poets showed poise and when it counted the most. Stokes canned a 3-pointer with 55 seconds left to cut the lead to 63-61 and then got a steal and a tough drive to the basket to tie the game at 63 with 41 seconds to play.
The Red Storm regrouped in overtime and had a 73-70 lead when Tripp hit two free throws with 41 seconds to play. But, again, the Poets didn't falter.
Miles hit one free throw to cut the lead to 73-71 and then, after the Red Storm threw away the inbound pass, the Poets got the ball back with a chance to come away with the win. Miles made sure it happened.
"We never lost our composure," Stokes said. "They made their runs and were up five in the final minute, but we never lost our composure. We got the stops that we needed and then [were] able to execute off those stops. This feels great. This is why I came here, and we have one more to go."
Trailing 18-15 early in the second quarter, the Poets got hot behind the 3-point line, with junior Montaque Wright coming off the bench to hit three 3s in the midst of an 18-3 run for a 33-21 lead with 2:42 to play in the half. But the Red Storm made good use of the final minutes before the break, getting a jumper from Tripp and two layups from Darius Walker to cut the lead to 33-27 at intermission.
Ben Franklin-Masonville Cove 52, Mervo 39: Byron Hawkes scored a game-high 17 points and fellow senior Gabe Shongo added 12 as the Bayhawks (18-3) captured the program's first championship in their fourth varsity season. Trailing 16-15 at the half, Ben Franklin took control with a dominating second half.
"It feels great — feels great," Hawkes said. "[In the second half], I just knew I had to help my team. I'm the point guard, and I had to take control and get my teammates the ball, too."
The Bayhawks, who went 10-1 in Division 2 during the regular season, had 10 players score in the game. Mervo got a team-high 16 points from senior Jordan Myers.
Baltimore City championships
(at Morgan State)
No. 2 Dunbar 74, No. 5 Edmondson 73 (OT)
E – Tripp 35, Walker 14, Hubbard 8, Lee-Fowlkes 9, Smith 5, Burke 2. Totals: 22 25-20 73.
D – Miles 24, Stokes 20, B. Smith 4, Brown 5, Gibson 2, McNair 3, Buchanon 5, Wright 1 . Totals: 26 14-22 74.
Half: D, 33-27
Ben Franklin-Masonville 52, Mervo 39Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun