With nearly its entire roster back from last season’s Class 3A state championship run, Poly girls basketball hasn’t allowed complacency to set because regaining the Baltimore City championship has been its first goal.
The top-ranked Engineers moved closer to that goal Tuesday, defeating No. 11 Forest Park, 53-22, in a city league Division I match in Northwest Baltimore. George Mason University recruit Trinity Massenburg had 13 points, seven rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots, and DaBrya Clark added 11 for Poly (16-1 overall).
Poly trailed only after the hosts’ scored first on a free throw, and built a 29-7 halftime advantage to claim first in Division A (5-0). The Engineers have Benjamin Franklin, Patterson and Douglass remaining in Division A play.
Barring an epic collapse, Poly will likely play Western for the city title in late February. The reigning city champ Doves sit comfortably atop Division B.
Poly has played for the city championship in the previous 11 seasons of competition (no season in 2020-21 because of COVID-19 pandemic).
“We lost last year so it’s important to get back. I don’t think we played very well and got beat very badly,” said Engineers coach Kendall Peace-Able, whose team lost to Western, 75-51, in last season’s city final. “We hope to get some redemption.”
“Since the first day of practice we knew we could be good,” said Massenburg. “The energy has shifted in a positive way. "
Poly, which has 10 players back from last season, overwhelmed a young Forest Park squad with its experience and talent in front of a boisterous Forester home crowd. The Engineers ran off 19 straight points for a 26-6 midway in the second quarter.
Poly led 36-13 after three quarters.
“We came in and took care of business,” said Clark, a Norfolk State recruit who added five assists, five rebounds and three steals.
“I think they met the moment,” said Peace-Able. “They (Forest Park) were confident as they should be playing at home and beating Western. I think people underestimate all the parts we have.”
The Engineers got quality minutes off the bench from senior Brianna Johnson (six points) and juniors Amelia Overton (five points, two blocks) and Ariana Makumi (six points, block and steal).
Freshman guard McKenzie Carroll finished with nine points for Forest Park (12-3, 4-1 Division A) and Chania CTaylor added three rebounds and six blocks. Carroll’s 3-point play had the Foresters within 7-6 late in the first quarter before Poly blew the match open.
“They’re defending state champs, they’re loaded at every position, they’re deep, physical and big,” said Foresters coach Jermaine Dunn, who started three freshmen. “We got a very young team. We played well defensively…we needed to make shots.”
NO. 1 POLY 53, NO. 11 FOREST PARK 22
Poly - Massenburg 13, Clark 11, Addison 6, Johnson 6, Makumi 6, Overton 5, Holliday 4, Georges 2. Totals 16 15-18 53.
Forest Park - Carroll 9, Malik-El 4, Fitzgerald 3, Hough 2, Stokes 2, Taylor 2. Totals 9 4-12 22.
Poly 13 16 7 17 - 53
Forest Park 6 1 6 9 - 22