Dunbar Claims 2012 Baltimore Division 1 City Championship over Patterson
Baltimore City’s best player and the program with the richest basketball tradition in Baltimore City squared off Tuesday night at Hill Field House on the Morgan State campus with a Baltimore City Championship on the line. The Poets came out victorious, defeating the Clippers by a score of 65-61 in front of close to 3,000 fans.
For Dunbar, it was their first city championship since 2004. They are accustomed to winning state championships, partially because the class they play in (the 1A class) has little competition. But city championships have much better competition. Teams from all four of Maryland’s classifications (within Baltimore City) fight to play in the Baltimore City Championship. Last year Patterson won the Baltimore City chip after going undefeated in Baltimore league play for the entire year. In fact the first loss that Patterson suffered to a Baltimore City school since the 2009-10 season was to the Dunbar Poets on January 13th of this year. Many criticized the officiating that game and thought Patterson didn’t get a fair shake. Excuses or not, Patterson would have their shot at redemption with the stakes much higher and on a neutral court.
Dunbar senior guard Rodrick Harrison single handedly owned the first quarter hitting four 3-balls in the eight minute span. He would add a fifth triple a minute in to the second quarter. Harrison would cool down after that but his fellow Poets would pick up where he left off, especially on the defensive front. Dunbar killed Patterson on the boards, even though they gave up a few inches in every front court match-up. Dunbar’s biggest lead of the game would reach nine points (on multiple occasions) and Patterson never led after the first quarter. The closest they would come was a tied game on an Aquille Carr to Leonard Livingston alley-oop early in the third quarter.
Dunbar’s defense would continue to stifle Patterson, limiting Aquille Carr to just one field goal outside of the paint in the entire game. Dunbar left the door open late for Patterson, going 2-12 from the free throw line in the final 1:13 of the game but Patterson could not take advantage of Dunbar’s misfortunes. Patterson had a pair of turnovers in the final seventy seconds, missed four 3-pointers, and were unable to complete the comeback.
Aquille Carr finished with a game high 24 points. Dunbar saw four players reach double figures. They were led by Harrison’s 18. Evan Singletary would chip in 16, Aaron Parham 13, and Donte Pretlow 10. Patterson’s Devin Hebron scored 14, and junior Myrek Lee-Fowlkes, who did not start for the first time this season added 11.
The Baltimore City Championship has no bearing on the Maryland State playoffs, it is more of a bragging rights type game. Dunbar and Patterson can now switch gears and focus on getting to the Comcast Center, and hopefully winning a state championship. Patterson is the 15th seed in what many are calling the tournament’s toughest bracket, the 3A North. Patterson opens up at #2 seed Hereford Saturday at noon. Patterson will have to potentially beat Hereford, City, and defending 3A state champs Milford Mill just to reach the Comcast Center. Should they represent the 3A North at the Comcast Center, Thomas Stone sits on the other side of the bracket, who may be the only team that has a size advantage over Patterson in the State of Maryland.
Dunbar will represent the 1A South in the Maryland State tournament. Many think Dunbar winning state chips is just a formality. With the squad they have this year those people might just be right.