City sank five of its first seven shots and raced to a 12-5 lead in just under four minutes at the start of Tuesday's game against visiting Dunbar. The Poets couldn't get started on offense, which delighted the screaming City fans in the packed gym.
That's when Daxter Miles changed everything — very quickly.
Miles needed just one minute, 20 seconds to score seven straight points as part of a 13-point run that gave Dunbar the lead for good. The senior guard finished with a game-high 21 points as No. 3 Poets rolled to a 61-45 victory over No. 8 City.
Miles started the run with a dunk, followed by a 3-pointer and two free throws that tied the game at 12. Miles added one more jam as Dunbar (19-2, 9-1 Baltimore City) got the last 13 points of the quarter for an 18-12 lead.
"They were big shots," Poets coach Cyrus Jones Sr. said. "They were momentum shots. He was so poised. He's a great player."
Miles finished with 12 points in the first quarter, matching what City (16-5, 8-2) ended the period with. He warned his teammates that the Knights would start the game fast, and Dunbar had to be ready.
"We knew they were going to come out with intensity," Miles said. "I told my teammates to keep our composure, and when we got the lead [to just] keep our foot on the gas pedal."
The Poets did just that, as Trevis Bunchanon (11 points) and Kamau Stokes (10 points) pitched in. But City's poor shooting after the good start also helped.
After Omari George's layup gave the Knights that 12-5 lead, City made only one basket the rest of the half. The Knights kept struggling in the third quarter. They hit just two baskets in the period as the Poets finished off a 39-6 run that turned the game into a rout.
That streak gave Dunbar a 44-18 lead halfway through the third quarter. The Knights missed 25 of 26 shots until Antonio Johnson's 3-pointer late in the third seemed to wake them up for the final 11 minutes.
City coach Daryl Wade got so frustrated that he pulled all five of his starters less than two minutes into the third quarter. Dunbar had taken a 34-18 halftime lead and then scored the first 10 points of the second half.
Aaron Williams led the Knights with 13 points on a frustrating night. Dunbar played tougher on defense after the slow start, a big reason for City's cold spell.
"Twenty-four years of coaching, [and] I've never seen a team this talented just fall apart like we have in the last few games," said Wade, whose Knights have dropped two of their last three.
No. 3 Dunbar 61, No. 8 City 45
D—Gibson 6, Brown 9, Stokes 10, Miles 21, McNair 2, R. Smith 2, Buchanon 11. Totals: 19 16-22 61.
C—Davis 4, Johnson 4, Fisher 10, Williams 13, Bond 2, George 2, Jo. Grant 3, Ju. Grant 7. Totals: 13 18-26 45.
Half: D, 34-18.