LEWES, Del. -- Good Counsel High School of Wheaton, ranked No. 1 in the Washington area and ninth nationally, defeated Dunbar, rated No. 1 by The Sun in the Baltimore metropolitan area, 62-57, last night.
The game at Cape Henlopen High was a highlight of opening day in the ninth annual Slam Dunk To The Beach tournament, which features 39 teams from 13 states.
A year ago, Dunbar entered the tournament without a national ranking but wound up defeating two of the nation's top five teams en route to a runner-up finish to New Jersey's St. Patrick.
The Poets were looking for a repeat performance, but the Falcons proved to be as good as advertised. They erased a four-point, first-period deficit and outscored Dunbar 23-7 in the third period.
The Falcons (12-0) were led by George Washington-bound Chris Monroe (24 points, eight rebounds, three steals), who was 11-for-16 from the free-throw line.
Earl Hunt, headed for Brown University, added 13 points and seven rebounds and Virginia-bound Roger Mason had 11 points.
The win earned Good Counsel a berth in Tuesday's 9: 45 p.m. semifinal against tomorrow's winner of the game between Lower Richland, S.C., and Picayune, Miss.
"We felt we had to prove ourselves, and tonight we did it against good competition," said the 6-foot-3 Monroe. "We wanted to contain [Dunbar point guard LaFonte] Johnson and [Donteaz] Dean and we felt we did that. Tonight, we played a great game against some good players. Their point guard was pretty good, but we contained him."
Arnold Bowie (22 points), Dean (13 points, eight rebounds) and Johnson (seven points, eight assists) led Dunbar. The Poets (5-1) play the Lower Richland-Picayune loser on Tuesday at 4: 45 p.m.
"They controlled the tempo of that second quarter, and by the time we figured out what we wanted to do, it was a little bit too late," said third-year Dunbar coach Lynn Badham, whose Poets were close at 50-47 with 4: 24 to play. "But we fought, and we fought to get back in the game and for that I'm very proud of them."
Dunbar's 6-6 Dean blocked a shot by Mason, then converted his first of two first-period three-point plays for an early 9-4 lead. The second three-point play for Dean, who scored 10 of his 13 first-half points in the first period, had the Poets up 16-12.
Teammate Bowie scored six of his 10 first-half points in the first quarter.
But the Poets succumbed to the Falcons' 23-point second quarter, including a 10-0 run to open the period for a 22-16 Good Counsel lead. The Falcons tied the game at 16 on a put-back by A. J. Harris and led 18-16 on a pair of free throws by Monroe. They made it 20-16 on a bucket by Earl Hunt.
The Falcons closed by outscoring the Poets 14-5 -- and capitalizing on five steals in the process -- for a 35-23 halftime lead.
Pub Date: 12/27/98