The Walbrook girls basketball team managed to make a game of yesterday's Baltimore City contest at Dunbar, but in the end, two things tipped the scale in the home team's favor.
Dunbar pulled out a 66-55 victory thanks in part to shooting more than twice as many free throws as the Warriors. It also helped the Poets when Walbrook's high-scoring All-Metro guard, Renee Jones, fouled out with 21 points halfway through the third quarter.
Still, the Warriors managed to cut what had been a 21-point Poets lead to 54-44 on back-to-back baskets from Cyndra Bass early in the fourth quarter.
"That's the sign of a good team," Poets coach Wardell Selby said. "When Renee fouled out, rather than just quit and give up, they kept playing. I had gone to the bench, but I had to put the starters back in."
With his starters back on the court, Selby sprung a full-court press on the Warriors. Without Jones and Victoria Green, who fouled out earlier in the quarter, the Warriors turned the ball over three times and the Poets scored six straight points.
The Warriors outscored the Poets in the second half, but they could not quite make up for falling behind 28-7 early in the second quarter.
Walbrook coach Yolanda Jackson was upset with the officiating much of the first half. By halftime, 16 fouls had been called on the Warriors and five on the Poets. Although Jackson did not receive any technical fouls, one was called against the Warriors after a comment made by someone behind their bench.
Jackson, however, declined to comment on the officiating, saying only, "I'm proud of my girls for the way they fought the entire game, the type of game it was."
The Warriors (4-7) made one more field goal than the Poets, but Dunbar was 26-for-47 from the free-throw line. Walbrook was 10-for-23.
The Poets (6-5) shot 30 free throws in the first half and scored 10 of their first 28 points from the foul line.
Ashley Gladden, who finished with 13 points, scored nine from the line, including five in the first half.
The Warriors, however, cut into the 21-point deficit quickly. Once Nikina Hill, who led the Poets with 16 points, hit a short jumper for a 28-7 lead with 6:32 left, Raven Redd nailed a short runner and then Jones scored eight in a 10-3 Warriors run to cut the lead to 31-17.
But Dunbar continued to take advantage of back-door openings, where Jaquanna Henderson scored many of her 15 points, and Hill also found openings driving to the basket.
The Warriors also got nine points each from Green and Desire Chandler.