In the championship game of the James Kenner Tournament Saturday night at Georgetown University, top-ranked Dunbar High faced Dunbar High of Washington, two basketball teams that were supposed to have more in common than just their names.
But after Baltimore's Dunbar ran away from Washington's Dunbar in the second half en route to a 84-68 win, the similarities seemed few.
Heading into the game, both teams were ranked No. 1 in their hometowns, and both teams had talented returning starters. Street & Smith's ranked Dunbar of Baltimore No. 18 nationally and Dunbar of Washington No. 21 in its top 25 preseason rankings. Street & Smith's also listed four players from each team among its top players in the country.
The first half of the game was about what was expected, as the lead seesawed before Baltimore Dunbar eased ahead, 40-36, at the end of the half.
But in the third quarter, the Poets built a 64-52 lead on the strength of seven-of-11 field-goal shooting. Washington Dunbar (4-1) scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to make it 64-57, but Baltimore Dunbar used a 12-2 run to bolt ahead, 76-59.
The Poets, who ran away from Coolidge in Friday's 75-58 semifinal win, got balanced scoring in the championship game.
Senior center Donta Bright scored four in the first half but finished with 22. Senior guard Terrance Alexander had 18, junior guard Michael Lloyd had 16 and sophomore forward Keith Booth had 15.
Bright was voted the tournament Most Valuable Player. He had 43 points and 21 rebounds in two games.
Bright, Alexander and Lloyd were starters last year. The question for Dunbar was how Booth would fit into the starting lineup. Booth, the sixth man last season, made the Poets even more cohesive than last year's 22-4 club. His ball-handling helped the Poets deal with Washington Dunbar's full-court pressure.
"We played well together as a unit," said Dunbar coach Pete Pompey. "We got good rebounding, which stopped them from " getting out on the break."
In both games, Baltimore Dunbar used full-court pressure to disrupt the Washington teams. It was especially apparent in the championship game, as the Poets held Washington Dunbar to six-of-16 from the field.
"We played unselfish, and our defensive intensity helped us get some breathing room," said Pompey.
No. 2 Southern lost to Dunbar of Washington, 61-54, Friday in overtime and lost in the final seconds to Coolidge, 64-62, Saturday, but Southern coach Meredith Smith said he was pleased with his team's performance.
Southern was able to stay with Washington's two best teams despite returning just two starters from last year's 21-3 team. The Bulldogs relied on senior point guard David Cason (40 points in two games).
DUNBAR -- Alexander 18, Bright 22, Lloyd 16, Booth 15, Washington 4, Gross 3, Jones 4, Banks 2. Totals: 27 27-36 84.
Salley 4, Simpson 4, Perry. Totals: 16 23-38 62.
OC COOLIDGE -- Taylor 12, Pratt 11, Wiley 2, Bruce 4, Stuckey 18,