Southern High overcame the loss of one of its top players and a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit and stunned No. 1 Dunbar last night, 72-71, in the Function at the Junction at Coppin State.
It was the 18th straight victory for the No. 2-ranked Bulldogs, who climaxed a stirring comeback on a three-point shot from the corner by senior forward Alfonso Hawes with three seconds left.
Dunbar, which played without two of its starters, had one last shot, but Sean Lipscomb's desperation attempt was not close.
"Obviously, this means everything," said Southern coach Meredith Smith. "This was probably the school's greatest win ever."
"We finally put Southern on the map," said Hawes. "It's about time."
Southern (4-0) appeared on the verge of defeat 1 1/2 minutes into the fourth period when the Poets finished an 11-0 run that gave them a 60-50 cushion.
That streak came after Bulldogs forward Dante Williams was ejected for his second technical foul with 12 seconds to go in the third quarter.
Williams, who had been called for a first-half technical for hanging on the rim after a dunk, protested a foul after he blocked an attempted dunk by Norman Nolan from behind -- drawing a second technical.
Dunbar (3-1) seemed in control until the final two minutes, repelling several mini-comebacks before a three-point play by Dantavis Keating brought the Bulldogs to within 69-68 with 44 seconds to play.
Keating was a major factor for Southern all night, leading all scorers with 21 points and also swiped away the key rebound after Mike Wise missed a second foul shot in the waning seconds.
Jeryl Singletary hit two free throws to push the Poets up by three, but the first foul shot by Wise brought Southern back to within 71-69 and set up Hawes' heroics.
"We didn't get focused until we came down the stretch," said Smith. "We started to run our offense. We wanted a good shot on the last play, but we didn't run a set play. It just happened."
Hawes said: "Actually, I set a screen for [Kevin] Simpson, but they doubled on him and I was the only one open.
"I've been practicing that shot for a long time."
Simpson had 17 points for Southern, which won the state Class 3A title last season and has the longest winning streak in the area.
Dunbar coach Paul Smith changed his lineup as promised following Thursday's unimpressive 74-59 win over Walbrook, benching Alexander Mobley and Michael Cooper for disciplinary reasons.
"I haven't decided yet if it's for more than one game," said Smith, who would not use their absence as an excuse. "If we make our foul shots down the stretch, we're still OK, but we missed like five front ends [of one-and-ones]. And I think subconsciously we relaxed after we got the 10-point lead.
"We were a little tentative physically and emotionally and at the end, we got a little fatigued."
Rodney Elliott, with 17, and Billy Wells, with 15, paced the Poets, who received only two second-half points from preseason All-American Nolan, who was often double-teamed.
The teams had not met since February of 1992 when Dunbar prevailed at Morgan State, 69-54.