Missed layups and free throws hurt No. 2 Dunbar in Tuesday's loss to visiting Baltimore City rival Walbrook, ruining the Poets' quest for an unbeaten season.
But if last night's 77-59 rout of Gwynn Park of Prince George's County is an indication, the Poets may not taste defeat again as they take aim at a third straight Class 1A state title.
Darron Edwards scored 18 points, All-Metro player Nathan Irby contributed 13, Delano Johnson had 11 points and eight rebounds, and Craig Singletary had 10 points and nine rebounds in a nearly flawless effort by the Poets (6-1) against last year's Class 3A state runners-up.
Irby had five steals and five assists, and Marcus Taylor (nine points) went 6-for-9 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter in a game played in the Basketball Academy tournament at Morgan State's Hill Field House.
Edwards and Johnson were the keys in a momentum-swinging, 19-point run in the second quarter that turned a 13-12 first-quarter deficit into a 31-15 advantage three minutes prior to halftime.
The run included Edwards' four three-pointers and five more points from Johnson - including Johnson's three-point play. The Poets' lead rose to 59-41 entering the fourth quarter, when Dunbar used a 9-1 run on the way to dropping the Yellow Jackets to 6-4.
"We took a lot of backlash in the city for losing at home to a West Side team like Walbrook, but this was our bounce-back game to show that we're still the best in the city," said Edwards, a St. Frances transfer whose second three-pointer started the run and gave Dunbar a 15-13 lead after a first quarter that saw five lead changes.
Down 38-24 at halftime, Gwynn Park closed to within 38-31 early in the third quarter, but Taylor's three-pointer regained control for the Poets, who never allowed the Yellow Jackets closer than eight points after that.
"This game meant a lot to us emotionally," Johnson said. "It shows that we're still No. 1."
Corey Hammond and 6-7 Marcus White scored 10 points each for the Yellow Jackets.
No. 7 Southwestern 65, Cardozo 47: Junior Jamal Barney surpassed his average of nearly 30 points per game, contributing more than half of the Sabers' point total to almost single-handedly push them to 10-0.
The guard had three three-pointers among his 35 points and was 6-for-8 from the free-throw line. The only Saber to score in double figures, Barney had 15 points in the third quarter to thwart Cardozo (7-2), the 19th-ranked team in the Washington area.
No. 12 Aberdeen 54, Northwestern 45: The Eagles (5-3) outscored the Wildcats 18-10 in the third quarter to erase a four-point halftime deficit. Leandre Richardson led the winning effort with 17 points.
No. 7 Walbrook 53, Dunbar (D.C.) 46: Ed Tyson scored 13 points, Rodney Spruill had 11 points, and Velmar Coleman and Eric Pitts each added eight as the Warriors (8-1) avenged their only loss, defeating the Crimson Tide (12-3).