The Dunbar gym and the No. 1 Poets' defense were both cranked up in the closing minute of Tuesday's boys basketball game against No. 11 Edmondson.
The Red Storm, which had seen its 13-point, early-fourth-quarter lead shrink to one, had the ultimate chance to see just what it was made of.
In that final minute, the Red Storm showed poise, determination and a desire that Dunbar was unable to match. Guard Isaiah Tripp was the catalyst, scoring a game-high 20 points and, more importantly, taking care of the basketball in the final minute to secure a 68-61 upset win.
After a 13-0 start, Dunbar lost for the second time in three games to fall to 14-2 overall and 5-1 in Baltimore City's Division I. Edmondson improved to 13-3 overall and 4-2 in league play.
After Dunbar guard Evan Singletary (game-high 21 points) scored on a drive to the basket with 1:08 to play, cutting the lead to 62-61, the Red Storm scored the game's final six points — two free throws from Tripp, a basket from Devon Graham (16 points) and two free throws from Darius Hubbard to seal the impressive road win.
"Dunbar is the No. 1 team in the city, so what I tried to tell my kids is they're going to fight, they're not going to lay down and we're going to have to continue to play as hard as we can," Edmondson coach Darnell Dantzler said. "I mean everything. … We had to give it 100 percent effort because they're not going to give it to us — we had to go in and take it from them. So the kids came in and played hard and executed down the stretch."
After Dunbar forced four turnovers in the span of a minute as part of a 12-0 run to cut the lead to 54-53 with 4:23 to play, Dantzler ordered Tripp to go get the ball and take charge. He responded with six points in the final 2:12 — all the points answering Dunbar baskets that had gotten the home team within one or two points.
"It was pretty tough, but you have to grind it out and you got to take every play like it's the last play and don't worry about being tired, don't worry about the tough game," Tripp said. "You just got to go get it, and that's what we did."
The Red Storm started hot offensively, hitting eight of 12 shots from the field in the first quarter to build a 19-10 lead that would grow to 14 in the second quarter. The Poets came out strong in the third quarter — getting five points from Aaron Parham in a 10-3 run to cut the Edmondson lead to 41-37. But the Red Storm answered with a 6-0 run of its own later in the third — Tripp scoring two of the baskets — and would lead 54-41 after Darius Walker scored with 7:02 to play.
The Poets once again pushed in the fourth quarter — Gavin Pettiford hitting two big 3-pointers to help get them close — but the Red Storm was able to push back.
"Too big of a hole — we didn't come out ready to play," Dunbar coach Cyrus Jones said. "Edmondson is a hard team to beat. They play hard, they do the little things to get wins with the toughness they have. It basically paid off for them today. We didn't come out and control the game. Once again turnovers, missed assignments and effort — that's what killed us today. When you don't play with that effort, that desire to go out and compete, this is what's going to happen to you against any team."
Walker and Rishard Lane each scored 14 points to give the Red Storm four players in double figures.
E—Tripp 20, Graham 16, Walker 14, Lane 14, Hubbard 4. Totals: 24 14-20 68.
D—Singletary 21, Pettiford 13, Young 8, Harrison 9, Parham 6, Brown 4. Totals: 25 3-12 61.
Half: E, 38-27Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun