Baltimore turned out to be best again, winning the second Baltimore-Washington Classic at City College last night.
Baltimore teams won three of four games to retain the championship trophy for another year.
After City and Mervo won earlier contests yesterday, No. 1 Dunbar sealed it with a 60-54 victory over Dunbar of Washington, ranked No. 12 in the Washington area, in the finale.
Forest Park was defeated by Spingarn in the opening game.
Last year, the Poets and City were victorious as Baltimore won via a coin flip.
It was a successful debut for the Poets, who lost All-Metro Player of the Year Jamal Brown (Maine Central Prep) and second-team All-Metro pick Tim Lyles (Mount Zion Academy in North Carolina), but have an array of talented transfers, including Lafonte Johnson.
Donteaz Dean led the Poets (1-0) with a game-high 22 points, and Johnson, who transferred from Towson Catholic, added 19. Troyce Haynesworth led the Crimson Tide (1-1) with 14 points and Willard Green and Bryant Hunt each contributed 10.
After leading by as many 15 points, Dunbar couldn't put away the Crimson Tide, which closed to 54-50 with 3: 06 left in the contest.
Junior Tony Tucker helped give Dunbar some breathing room, grabbing a missed shot and scoring, then converting two free throws for a 58-50 lead with 2: 40 remaining.
The Crimson Tide got back to 58-53, but was unable to put together any consistent offensive push against Dunbar, which had four turnovers to go with two missed free throws in its next six possessions after Tucker's free throws.
"We were ragged in some spots," said Dunbar coach Lynn Badham. "The kids are young. I think they felt that they had them, but Dunbar [Washington] is a good team, and I knew that they were going to come back."
Johnson, a 5-foot-8 first-team All-Metro pick last season, helped the Poets build a 32-17 halftime margin, scoring his team's final 14 points, including four consecutive three-pointers.
The Crimson Tide fought back to within 40-34 late in the third, but five straight points, including a basket by Dean, helped the lead grow to 45-34 early in the final quarter.
"I think we played well, considering we have three regulars back and some new faces," said Dean, a second-team All-Metro selection last season. "We know that everybody will coming after us because they have something to prove, but we feel that we also have something to prove."
In other action, No. 16 City and Anacostia looked sloppy in the opener for both, but the tournament hosts were able to hold off the Southeast Washington school, 45-40.
Sophomore point guard Todd Galloway led City with a game-high 16 points. Dwanye Shackleford and Donnie Proctor each scored 14 to lead Anacostia.
The Knights led by as many 10 points early in the fourth quarter, but the Indians were able to close to 42-40 on a three-pointer by Proctor with 59.1 seconds left.
City was able to break Anacostia's defensive pressure as Austin Baker got free under the basket for a layup, and later added a free throw for the game's final margin.
No. 13 Mervo (1-0) secured the first victory for Baltimore, using free-throw shooting to rally past Wilson of Northwest Washington, 65-58.
Trailing 50-47 in the final period, the Mustangs went on a 10-0 run to secured a 57-50 lead with 2: 19 remaining. Mervo was 17-for-25 from the line in the quarter, and 26 of 42 overall.
Defending state 1A champion Forest Park received 37 points from senior guard Donnell Dobbins, but it wasn't enough for the Foresters (0-1), who fell to Spingarn, 71-61.
Pub Date: 12/06/98