With its numerous championship banners hanging on the wall inside its fabled gymnasium, it’s hard to believe Dunbar boys basketball team has been on the outside of the Baltimore City basketball scene the last couple of seasons.
But the Poets are quietly easing their way back to revelance. Dunbar defeated visiting Randallstown, 67-49, in the opening game of the 25th Basketball Academy in East Baltimore.
Senior guard Otis Toney recorded a game-high 21 points along with seven rebounds and three assists while forward Gary Suite registered 17 points and eight rebounds for the Poets. Randallstown guard Adonis Johnson led his team with 18 points off the bench.
Dunbar never trailed after a 12-2 first quarter run to improve to 12-2. The Poets’ 12 victories are the second-most in the area’s toughest public league behind undefeated and No. 4 City (14-0).
Toney, the game’s Most Valuable Player, said the Poets are trending up.
“We use each day as a confidence-booster. Win or lose – we gotta find something positive, we gotta find something good out of every game and evey practice. So every time you get a win, it’s going to help you. The fact that we did it on our home floor and it’s a part of this tournament, it definitely gave us a boost.”
Toney and Suite converted scores in the paint, and a 3-pointer from Tyler Taylor as time expired in the first quarter completed the 12-2 run that wiped an early 4-0 deficit. The Poets scored 10 straight in the second quarter to expand their lead to 26-15.
The Poets, undersized by most standards, turned to their defense in the second half, creating offense off turnovers. Dunbar was able to find an answer for Randallstown’s 2-3 zone defense that gave them trouble early.
“As long as we talk and play defense, the offense is going to come,” Toney said.
Makhi Giddins poured in 10 points for Dunbar and Marcus Green finished with nine points, four assists and three steals. Lance Porter contributed 13 points, nine boards and five steals for the Rams.
Randallstown longtime coach Kevin English said his team didn’t take care of the ball.
“You can’t make 20-plus turnovers and expect to win, especially against a team like Dunbar,” Randallstown coach Kevin English said. “At the end of the day, we didn’t do what we needed to do on our end... so we’re young and we’re learning.”
In the nightcap, No. 6 Edmondson rebounded from Thursday’s loss at undefeated City, defeating Woodlawn, 67-57. Josiah Brown scored 20 points for the Red Storm (9-4), and sophomore guard DJ Dantzler added 19.
Leading 50-47, Edmondson pulled away from the Warriors in the fourth quarter. Marcus Jackson added 15 points for the Red Storm. Joel Keihn led Woodlawn with 12 points.
DUNBAR 67, RANDALLSTOWN 49
Randallstown - Johnson 18, Porter 13, Mellerson 6, Brown 5, Davis 3, Stewart 2, Williams 2. Totals 20 4-7 49.
Dunbar - Toney 21, Suite 17, Giddins 10, Green 9, Tyler Taylor 8, Todd Taylor 2. Totals 28 8-16 67.
Randallstown 6 13 13 17 — 49
Dunbar 12 14 18 23 — 67
NO. 6 EDMONDSON 67, WOODLAWN 57
Woodlawn - Keihn 12, Washington 11, Plummer 11, Simms 10, Clarke 8, Robinson 3, Taylor 2. Totals 23 6-10 57.
Edmondson - Brown 20, Dantzler 19, Jackson 15, Davis 7, Green 2 Sherrod 2, West 2. Totals 26 10-12 67.
Woodlawn 14 15 18 10 - 57
Edmondson 14 18 18 17 - 67