The Dunbar-Lake Clifton rivalry has been called many things over the years. Right now, "one-sided" could suffice.
The No. 2-ranked Poets won the latest battle in the series yesterday, getting past the No. 10 Lakers, 58-51, before a capacity crowd at Lake Clifton last night.
Lafonte Johnson led Dunbar (11-2) with 17 points, and Arnold Bowie added 12. Teoine Carroll scored 17 points for the Lakers (6-4), and Andre Mouzone had 13.
The Poets (4-0 league) knocked Lake Clifton (3-1 league) out of a three-way tie for first with them and City in the city East Division. Dunbar hosts the No. 6 Knights at 5 p.m. Tuesday in a game that will most likely decide the league champion and title-game spot.
Since 1991, Dunbar has won seven of nine meetings with its longtime East Baltimore rival. The Lakers' triumphs during the period came in 1997 (67-65) and in 1993 (63-55).
Possibly the area's most anticipated games, which has played to packed houses at the Coppin Center and Morgan's Hill Field House, was played last night on one of the teams' courts.
The change didn't affect the Poets, who never relinquished the lead after early moments in the second quarter.
"That was a great win," said Dunbar coach Lynn Badham, a veteran of the rivalry as coach and as an assistant. "They wanted opportunities, and we were able to take advantage of them."
The Poets' win did not come easily. Their weak free-throw shooting allowed a 10-point lead with 1: 33 left to be sliced to 53-49 with 37 seconds to go.
Johnson, with eight points in the final quarter, snapped a string of five free-throw misses by Dunbar with two bonus one-and-one shots with 21.3 seconds left.
The Lakers got those back with two free throws by Carroll with 15.9 seconds left. But Johnson added another one with 15.3 seconds to play.
"We wanted to get back on defense, rebound, and go hard for 32 minutes," said Bowie, a 6-foot-1 senior guard. "We knew it wasn't going to be easy. It was all about 'Poet Pride.'"
Dunbar was able to turn eight Lake Clifton turnovers into 16 points and slow down a hot-shooting Carroll, who scored four points in the second half. The Lakers got many good looks but made only nine of 32 second-half shots.
After struggling for half of the fourth quarter, the Poets started to pull away. Johnson scored on a layup and again off a Lake Clifton turnover. A steal by Calvin Dotson led to a basket by Bowie, giving Dunbar a 50-39 lead with 3: 42 left.
"We wanted to contain them on defense and attack the basket," said Lake Clifton coach Herman Harried, whose team has lost two straight. "We accomplished some of our goals, but we had a couple of breakdowns, and they took advantage, like a good team should."
Pub Date: 1/23/99