We continue our series on the Top 100 Baltimore City Public School Basketball teams of all-time. Part 1 of the Series (100-61) can be found here.
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60 ‘71 Dunbar (15-2) Coach William ‘Sugar’ Cain > #2 in the Sun – The Poets ‘70-71 season would go down in infamy, as a brawl in their final game marred an otherwise relatively successful season. The Poets quest for its first MSA A title since 1965 came to an end with a 69-67 overtime loss to eventual MSA A champion Mt. St. Joe, after having beaten the Gaels, 60-55, in the teams first meeting. The Poets trailed by nine, 36-27, at halftime of their second meeting with the Gaels, before outscoring St. Joe 25-12 in the third quarter. The Poets lead grew to 58-50 early in the fourth quarter, before the Gaels went on a 8-0 run to tie it. Gaels star Barry Scroggins’ free throw with five seconds left in regulation sent the game to overtime, and the Gaels other star Milt Walker scored four points in overtime to clinch the MSA A Division II. The Poets started 12-0 before a 59-57 overtime loss to Edmondson, who featured 6’11 Marvin Webster. The Poets beat MSA A Division I champ Carver, 80-77, and held victories over Loyola (81-77) and Cardinal Gibbons (73-56). Tony Brown, a 6’3 junior, was named to the All-Met First Team, averaging 18 points per game, while sophomore Billy Snowden was selected to the All-Met Second Team, after averaging 16 points per game. Senior Don White was a catalyst, scoring 25 points in the win over Carver, and 29 in the win over Loyola. Junior James ‘Box’ Owens was the floor general. Notes; The Poets would begin their 48 game overall win streak and 52 game unbeaten streak versus local competition that December; The Baltimore area Catholic schools departed from the MSA A Conference following the ‘70-71 season.
59 ‘09 Walbrook (22-4) Coach Kevin Bridgers > 4A State Semifinalist, #7 in the Sun – The Warriors registered 22 wins in 2009, second only in their program’s history to the ‘05 state champion Warriors’ 26 wins. The Warriors advanced to the ‘Final 4’ for the just the second time, after winning the 4A title in ‘05. The Warriors recorded wins over 28-win Friendship Collegiate, eventual state champion Digital Harbor, Dunbar, and Patterson. The Warriors demolished North Carroll in the regional final, before taking on the undefeated, 4A defending champion Springbrook Blue Devils, who were riding a 34 game win streak. The Warriors trailed the Blue Devils, 57-50, with 3:16 to play, before going on a 10-0 run to take a three point lead with 15 seconds to play. After working the ball around to find a three-point shot, the Blue Devils Jeremy Williams nailed his attempt from behind the arc with a second to play to force overtime. The Warriors trailed by three in the first overtime when senior Denzel Walker drained a leaning three-pointer with 6 seconds left in overtime to force a second extra session. After falling behind by four in the second overtime, the Warriors cut it to one, with just over two minutes to go, but couldn’t get any closer. Junior Roscoe Smith was named to the All-Met First Team, averaging 21.4 points and 11 rebounds per game, while shooting 41% from beyond the arc. The 6’8 Smith would transfer to Oak Hill for his senior season. Walker was named to the All-City team, after averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds per game. Senior Donte Stuckey averaged 15.2 points per game. Notes; The ‘09 Warriors were the next to last Baltimore City team to advance to the 4A Final 4, with Patterson advancing to the 4A state final in 2011; Smith left Oak Hill for UConn, where he started 33 games for the national champion 2011 Huskies, finishing fourth on the team in minutes (25.4 per game) as a freshman, averaging 6.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.2 blocked shots per game. Smith transferred to UNLV following his sophomore year, and after sitting out a season, averaged 11.1 points and 10.9 rebounds per game for the Runnin’ Rebels in his senior season.
58 ‘96 Lake Clifton (20-3) Coach Charlie Moore > Regional Finalist, #6 in the Sun – The Lakers quest to repeat as state champions came to a halt in the regional final, losing to the Southern Bulldogs a second time, 70-63. Michael King, the Lakers 6’4 junior star, scored 32 points in the loss. All three of the Lakers losses came to eventual state champions – Southern and Dunbar, the former who finished #16 in the country, and the latter who won their fourth straight state championship in just their fourth year in the MPSSAA. Otherwise, the Lakers were 20-0, including a pair of wins over Walbrook, and a 65-63 victory over #8 Southwestern. In the regional quarterfinal, the Lakers demolished Dulaney, 93-42, after staking a 43-7 halftime lead, then took a test from Walbrook in the regional semifinal, before surviving the Warriors, 83-78. Kevin Braswell, a talented junior, scored 20 points, 16 in the second half. Donte Lemmon led the Lakers scoring surge, with 24 points, while Rodney Bass also scored 20 points. In the regional final, a rematch with the Bulldogs, the Lakers cut the Dawgs lead to 63-60, with 2:35 to go, before the national top 25 team pulled away. King was named to the All-Met Second Team, after averaging 18.5 points per game, as was Braswell, who averaged 14.4 points and 7.7 assists per game. Bass, Lemmon, Eric Evans, and Roderick Walker, all added to the firepower of King and Braswell. Notes; The three losses to eventual state champions were enough to push the Lakers out of the top 5 in the Sun’s final rankings for just the second time in ten years, settling at #6.
57 ‘88 Lake Clifton (20-6) Coach Charlie Moore > City Champion, MSA A Runner-Up, #2 in the Sun – The Lakers won the city title for a second year in a row for the first time since doing it in the first two years of the city league championship, in ‘75 and ‘75. Charlie Moore took over the coaching duties in ‘86 when Woody Williams stepped down after sitting in the Lakers first chair for 17 seasons, to take a job at Maryland. Moore had coached the Lakers junior varsity team for six seasons. After getting past Walbrook in the public school semifinals, the Lakers trumped Southern in the city final, 83-72, with 6’7 junior Cleveland Melvin scoring 26 points, 6’6 junior Ronald Lucas scoring 19, and senior Kenny McNeil adding 17 points. The Lakers beat 24-win Cardinal Gibbons three times, including a 75-72 victory at the Metro Classic. Five of the six Lakers losses were to nationally ranked teams, including a three point loss to Dunbar (one of four losses to the Poets) in the season opener in the Poet-Lakers Classic, and a three point loss to nationally top 10 ranked St Anthony’s NJ, 75-72, at the Seagull Classic in New Jersey. Melvin and McNeil were both named to the All-Met First Team, with Melvin averaging 21 points and 12.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 62% from the field, and the senior McNeil leading the league in scoring, at 24.5 a clip, adding 7.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game. Lucas and junior guard Ben Harlee were named to the All-Met Second Team. Notes; The ‘88 Lakers followed the nationally ranked #8 ‘87 Lakers, who went 27-1, losing the season finale on a 60 foot Rodney Monroe heave at the buzzer that gave St.Maria Goretti a 73-72 win.
56 ‘97 Lake Clifton (18-5) Coach Charlie Moore > City League Runner-Up, Regional Finalist, #3 in the Sun – The Lakers came up short three times versus undefeated, #1 Southwestern, losing in overtime (69-67) in their first meeting, forcing a one possession game with less than 90 seconds to go in the city championship game, then having a tie game with less than 40 seconds to go in the regional final, with a chance to take the lead at the line, before falling to the Sabres in the final minute for a third time. The Lakers notched more than a handful of quality victories, beating nationally recognized Roman Catholic PA, 50-40, at the Mayors Academy, topping #5 Randallstown, 64-51, at the Function in the Junction, trouncing Woodlawn by 30 at the Coppin Center, pummeling defending state champ Southern by 35, beating Walbrook by 30 and 24 points, and posting wins over Dunbar and Douglass. The only other two losses the Lakers suffered outside of Southwestern was a 70-62 defeat to #2 St Frances, and a 80-76 loss to Germantown, at the Mayors Academy. Michael King was named to the All-Met First Team for a second time, after averaging 21.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. King scored a season-high 43 points in a win over Forest Park, 26 in the loss to St Frances, and registered 21 points and 15 rebounds in the city title game loss to the Sabres. Kevin Braswell, the other Lakers star, was selected to the All-Met Second Team, averaging 20.9 points per game. Braswell was arrested on drug charges just prior to the playoffs, and didn’t play in post-season wins over Mervo and Northern, or the regional final loss to Southwestern. Dominique Liverpool, a 6’8 junior, averaged 11.1 rebounds per game. Coach Charlie Moore stepped down after ten years at the helm at Lake Clifton following the season. Notes; King would go on to play four years at George Washington, finishing his career with 1,327 points, 497 rebounds, 192 assists, and 175 steals. The Colonials advanced to the NCAA tournament in King’s freshman and sophomore years under Mike Jarvis, with King finishing second to fellow former Laker Shawnta ‘Nut’ Rogers in scoring in his freshman year, averaging 13.2 points per game for the 24 game winners, followed by 15.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 2.1 steals per game his sophomore season. After a year at Maine Central, Braswell would flourish for four years at Georgetown, becoming their all-time assists (695) and steals (349) leader. Braswell ranks 7th on the Hoyas all-time scoring list, with 1,735 career points.
55 ‘04 Dunbar (23-2) Coach Eric ‘Smiley’ Lee > 1A State Champion, City Champion, #3 in the Sun – The Poets won their second consecutive state championship, and third in four years under coach Eric ‘Smiley’ Lee, trouncing Allegany, 68-43, in the 1A state title game. In all, it was the Poets 9th state championship in its 12th year in the MPSSAA. Both of the Poets losses came in league play, to Southern and Walbrook, but the Poets avenged their loss to Southern not once but twice, in the city title game and regional final. In a back and forth battle with the Bulldogs in the city title game, Barry Jenifer’s jumper with 1:30 to go put the Poets up for good, and the defending state champs took a 54-48 victory. The Poets also boasted a pair of top 10 wins over fellow state champion Douglass, and added a 82-61 victory over defending state champion Lake Clifton. In the rematch with the Bulldogs in the regional final, the last game ever played at Southern High, Bryon Roundtree’s game-winning buzzer-beater would be the difference between these two evenly matched teams, both who scored 149 points in their three meetings. Nathaniel Irby led the Poets with 14 points. The ‘Final 4’ in College Park produced very little drama, as the Poets thrashed Cambridge-South Dorchester 77-54, in the state semifinal, before burying Allegany, 68-43, in the state championship game. Camonte Griffin scored 14 points for the well-balanced Poets in the state championship game, while David Blanton-Holcomb added 13. The Poets won their final 15 games. Irby, a junior, was named to the All-Met First Team, averaging 11.6 points, 4.8 assists, and 5.8 steals per game. Later that fall, Irby was named the Sun’s Offensive Player of the Year in football. Jenifer, Griffin, Roundtree, Blanton-Holcomb, and junior Craig Singletary all were key contributors in the Poets success. Notes; Irby rushed for 2,883 yards and scored 35 touchdowns for the state champion Poets, who won the state crown for the first time in nine years.
54 ‘05 Dunbar (23-3) Coach Eric ‘Smiley’ Lee > 1A State Champion, City League Runner-Up, #3 in the Sun – The Poets won their 10th state title in their 13th year in the MPSSAA, and for the second time in three years, ran away from Pocomoke in the 1A title game, after losing to the Warriors in the ‘02 championship game. In ‘03, the Poets didn’t take control of the game until the fourth quarter. This time, the Poets controlled the game throughout, taking a 19-5 first quarter lead, and cruised to a 69-56 title game victory. Senior Craig Singletary led the way for the Poets with 24 points, 7 rebounds, and four steals. Nathaniel Irby, who was selected as the Sun’s Offensive Player of the Year in football in the fall, added 16 points. In the state semifinal, the Poets used a 17-5 run in the third quarter to pull away from Allegany, after holding just a three point lead over the Campers at halftime. Nathaniel Irby scored 17 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. Two of the Poets three losses came to fellow state champion Walbrook, who handed the Poets a 56-53 loss in the first matchup, and a heartbreaking 65-63 loss in the city title game. Junior Marcus Taylor’s potential game-tying basket was ruled to be after the buzzer. Singletary scored 19 points in the loss. In the regular season, the Poets topped defending 3A state champion Gwynn Park at the Mayors Academy Invitational, 77-59, and claimed a 75-67 win over #4 Southwestern. Singletary was named to the All-Met First Team, averaging 13.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game. Irby, who was named to the All-Met First Team in ‘04, was named to the All-Met Second Team in ‘05. Taylor and Dante Blanton-Holcomb, a key piece on the ‘04 championship team, were among more than a handful of key contributors for the Poets. Notes; Dunbar became the first team to win at least three straight championships two different times – winning four straight from ‘93-96, and winning their third straight in ‘05.
53 ‘96 Dunbar (21-6) Coach Paul Smith > 3A State Champion, City Champion, #2 in the Sun – The Poets won their fourth straight state title, the first to do so in any classification in 25 years, since Fairmont Heights won four straight from ‘68-71. The Poets had a rocky start, going 4-4 in their first eight games, but went 17-2 the rest of the way and accomplished their two ultimate goals, winning both city and state titles. This, with just one starter, Tommy Polley, returning from their state title team in ‘95. The Poets lost to Southwestern in their regular season tilt, then lost to St Frances by 16, and lost to Annapolis for the first time. The Poets also lost a pair of games at the Slam Dunk To The Beach tournament, including a 56-53 loss to Carroll DC. The Poets did register a 78-70 win over nationally ranked (then #12 USA Today) Southern, and a 71-60 over defending state champion Lake Clifton. The Poets also notched a 53-50 win over Calvert Hall in their first meeting since their epic 94-91 triple-overtime classic in 1981, won by the Cardinals. The Poets moved easily past Carver in the regional final, 82-65, as the 6’5 senior Polley scored 24 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, and dished out four assists. The Poets moved on to the state semifinal to face the Washington Post’s top ranked team, Gwynn Park. The Poets won their 16th MPSSAA playoff game in 16 tries, topping the top-ranked Yellowjackets, 81-69, with freshman Tim Lyles leading the scoring with 19 points, and senior Altman Smith adding 17. After trailing 14-5 early, the Poets went on an 18-0 run to close the first quarter and open the second, to take a 9 point lead and never look back, all while Polley was saddled with foul trouble. In the state final versus Kennedy, the Poets clutched on to a two point lead, 54-52, with 2:34 remaining, before 5’7 junior Durrell Garrett hit a pull-up jumper, then hit four free throws in the final minute to give the Poets a 66-60 win over the Cavaliers. Polley finished with 21 points, while Garrett, who was instrumental in the Poets handling the Gwynn Park full court pressure in the semifinal, provided 15 points off the bench. Polley was named the Baltimore Sun’s co-Player of the Year, averaging 20.4 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 8.1 assists per game, months after being named the Sun’s Defensive Player of the Year on the gridiron for a second time. Chris Dean, a 6’4 junior, was named to the All-Met Second Team, after averaging 11.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, as was Smith, Southern coach Meredith Smith’s son. Lyles, the freshman, averaged 12.7 points and 7.7 assists per game. Paul Smith, who had guided the Poets for three years, winning a state title in all three years, stepped down following the season. Notes; Polley played four years of football at Florida State for Bobby Bowden, and was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, given to the top linebacker in college football. Polley eclipsed 100 tackles in both his junior and season seasons in Tallahassee, finishing with 289 career stops. Polley was drafted in the second round (42nd overall) by the St. Louis Rams in the 2001 NFL Draft. Polley played four years with the Rams, and another with the Ravens, before a shoulder injury cut his career short. His rookie season, Polley started 14 games for the NFC champion Rams, including three playoff games, where he recorded 30 tackles, and picked off two passes in the divisional playoff win over Green Bay. In his fifth and final season, with the Ravens, Polley started 15 games, and led the team in total tackles (97) and solo tackles (73).
52 ‘12 Dunbar (24-3) Coach Cyrus Jones > 1A State Champion, City Champion, #1 in the Sun – The 2012 Poets won the program’s 14th state title, and won its third in as many years, the third time they had won at least three years in a row, after winning four straight from ‘93 to ‘96, and ‘03 to ‘06. No other program has ever won at least three state titles in a row, twice. In the state final, the Poets routed New Town, 60-36, with Evan Singletary scoring 19 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. The Poets used a 15-0 first half run to extend a 11-7 lead into a 26-7 all but game-ending lead. In the semifinal, the Poets topped longtime post-season foe Pocomoke, 86-68, with Donte Pretlow providing 23 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and four steals. The Poets started out 13-0, before losing three of five, then winning their last nine games. The regular season featured wins over fellow state champions Patterson and Lake Clifton, Washington Catholic power St Johns, and both the DCIAA champ and runner-up, Coolidge and Theodore Roosevelt. The Poets won their first city title in eight years, their 21st overall, beating then #2 Patterson a second time. Rodrick Harrison scored 18 points, connecting on 5 of 6 from beyond the arc. Singletary was named to the All-Met First Team, averaging 15 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. Pretlow, Aaron Parham, Harrison, and DeAndre Gibson, all were key pieces for the Poets. The Poets allowed just 47.7 points per game. Coach Cyrus Jones was named the Sun’s Coach of the Year. Notes; Pretlow played four years at Morgan State, starting his final two years. Pretlow finished his Bears career with 538 points and 340 assists.
51 ‘18 Dunbar (26-3) Coach Cyrus Jones > State Champion, City Runner-Up, #5 in the Sun – The Poets won their state record 16th MPSSAA boys basketball state championship, topping Fairmont Heights, 59-48. The Poets relied on their defense throughout the playoffs, allowing just 42.7 points per game in the post-season. Dashawn Phillip, a 6’3 senior, scored 27 points (11-19 FG) and grabbed 13 rebounds in the title game, while 6’4 sophomore Jamal West added 15 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocked shots. In the state semifinal, the Poets dominated Clear Spring, 69-43, with Phillip scoring 19 points, grabbing 9 rebounds, and adding three steals. Senior Malik McCormick added 18 points, and West hauled in 19 rebounds. The Poets rolled through the regionals, winning four games by an average of 30.3 points per game. Two of the Poets three losses came to fellow state champion Poly, including a 54-37 loss to the Engineers in the city title game. In the regular season, the Poets beat another fellow state champion from the city league, Lake Clifton, 69-55. The Poets registered a win over 4A state semifinalist Old Mill, 46-32, at the Mayors Academy, and another over 3A state finalist Milford Mill, 57-51. The Poets recorded a pair of wins over two top teams in Pennsylvania – 26 win Reading, and 17 win Downingtown East. Phillip was named to the All-Met First Team, averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds per game. The four year starter finished his Poets career scoring 1,312 points. West was named to the All-Met Second Team, averaging 14.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. This was the Poets first title in five years, after winning four straight from ‘10 through ‘13. Notes; Phillip played for Mt. Zion for a year before going to Maryland Eastern Shore, where he finished second on the team in both scoring and rebounding as a freshman; West transferred to St. Frances the following school year, playing his last two seasons with the Panthers, where he earned the BCL’s Jerry Savage Player of the Year award as a senior. West signed with South Alabama in 2020.
50 ‘66 City College (20-0) Coach Gene Parker > MSA A Champion, #1 team in the area – This was the first of two undefeated back-to-back MSA A championship teams for the Black Knights. The conference title was the third in five years (‘62, ‘63) for the Black Knights. The Knights took the MSA A championship series with defending champ Dunbar, 2-0. In Game 1 of the series, before 4,114 at the Civic Center, the Collegians Lee Dedmon scored 21 points in their 67-59 win. In Game 2, Dedmon scored 14 points in the third quarter, 12 in a 15-2 run that gave the Black Knights a 52-33 lead. However, Dedmon fouled out early in the fourth period, and the Poets mounted a 26-7 run to tie the game at 59, before Billy Rose hit two free throws, and Gerry Owens hit a jumper to give City a 63-59 win before 4,147 at the Civic Center. The Black Knights clinched their division title with a 81-62 win over Carver, with Dedmon scoring 20 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. The Black Knights finished the season with a +30.0 point differential, scoring 77.3 points per game, and allowing just 47.3 points per contest. Dedmon was named to the All-Met First Team, one of four Black Knights to average double figures, averaging 14.2 points, and adding 15.1 rebounds per game. Henry Gareis averaged 11 points and 12.8 rebounds per game, while Rose averaged 12.3 points per game. Notes; Dedmon went on to Chapel Hill to play for Dean Smith and the North Carolina Tar Heels. His sophomore year, the Tar Heels were ACC champions, and advanced to the Final Four. In the consolation game loss to Drake, Dedmon scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. As a junior, Dedmon averaged 13.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, and 12.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game his senior year. Dedmon finished his three years (freshman were ineligible in ‘67) in Chapel Hill scoring 1,019 career points, and recording 729 career rebounds; Gareis played defensive end and was a team captain for the Maryland Terrapins football team.
49 ‘17 Poly (22-7) Coach Sam Brand > 3A State Champion, City League Runner-Up, #4 in the Sun – The Engineers won their first state championship in the program’s history, edging Potomac, 64-63. A year after winning their first city title in school history, the Engineers staved off a Wolverines fourth quarter rally, when freshman Rahim Ali hit his only two buckets of the game to break open a tie at 55 and give Poly a four point lead with 1:28 to play. The Wolverines rallied from 10 down in the final stanza to tie it, before Ali’s back-to-back buckets. Senior DeVondre Perry hit four free throws in the final minute to clinch the victory. Perry scored 23 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, while senior Torrin Stephens added 16 points, and junior Demetrius Mims added 14 points. The Engineers destroyed 25-1 Decatur in the state semifinal, 74-44, with Perry pouring in 33 points, grabbing 9 rebounds, dishing out four assists, and blocking three shots. Poly ripped through 19-6 Dundalk in the regional final, 68-36, with Mims leading the way with 22 points. The Engineers bid to win back-to-back city titles fell short, losing to Patterson, 42-40, in a defensive donnybrook. The Engineers had a handful of quality wins, topping St Frances by 20, knocking off 21 win Woodlawn by 27, doubling up 19 win Glenelg Country by 30, posted wins over Lake Clifton and Dunbar, and beat the city champion Clippers, 54-51, in overtime, in their regular season meeting. Four of the Engineers losses came to out-of-state foes, including a heartbreaking 69-68 loss to national ranked Simeon of Chicago. Perry was named to the All-Met First Team for a second time, after averaging 19.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 2.8 blocked shots per game. Perry, who averaged 28 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists at the Final Four, finished his career with 1,331 points. Mims was also named to the All-Met First Team, as the 6’5 junior averaged 14.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Stephens, Seth Jones, Cleveland Horton, and Ali, all contributed to the Engineers unprecedented season. Notes; Perry, now in his senior season at Temple, is a starting forward for the Owls, averaging 8.3 points and a team second-best 6.8 rebounds per game; The Engineers #4 ranking in the Sun’s final rankings was the highest season-ending ranking in the program’s history.
48 ‘86 Dunbar (23-7) Coach Bob Wade > MSA A Champion, #1 in the Sun – Coach Bob Wade would coach the Poets for the last time in ‘86, and his charges would win the MSA A title for the 9th time in 10 years, and win their 10th Baltimore City Public School championship in 10 years. The Poets routed Walbrook, 70-52, for the MSA A championship, winning the rubber match with the Warriors. Karl ‘Boobie’ James recorded 20 points, 12 assists and 8 steals, while fellow senior Sean Tyson scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. The Poets pummeled Northwestern, 83-56, with James registering 17 points, 11 assists, and 9 steals. Tyson led the scoring with 24 points, and added 8 rebounds. The Poets played a national schedule, and struggled early, losing four straight in December, to Walbrook, Gonzaga DC, DeMatha, and Mt Healthy OH. The Poets lost a 66-65 heartbreaker to Dunbar TX on a trip to the ‘Lonestar State’, but did pick up a pair of wins in Texas, including a 66-48 win over highly regarded Benton IL. The Poets posted a pair of wins over Southern, and a 75-52 win over Lake Clifton. In the season finale, St Maria Goretti and Rodney Monroe edged the Poets, 66-64, in the Metro Classic. James was named the Sun’s Player of the Year, after averaging 19.2 points, 8.7 assists, and three steals per game, and joined Tyson on the All-Met First Team. Senior Lewis Lambert was selected to the All-Met Honorable Mention team. Sam Cassell, a 6’1 sophomore, was a key piece for the Poets. Notes; James would play a season at UNLV, before sitting out a year and playing his final two years at South Alabama. As a freshman, James averaged 12.6 points per game, third best on the 28-win Runnin’ Rebels, and a team-best 3.6 assists per game. James averaged just under 10 points and four assists per game in his two seasons at South Alabama, and scored a team-best 15 points and dished out four assists in his final college game, a 82-72 NCAA tournament opening round loss to Utah. Tyson would play three years at Clemson, averaging 8.5 points and 4.1 rebounds as a junior for the ACC regular season champion Tigers. In the Tigers 79-75 NCAA second round win over LaSalle, Tyson scored 17 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and dished out four assists. In the ‘Sweet 16’ matchup with #1 seed Connecticut, Tyson recorded 11 points (5-8 FG), four rebounds, two assists and two steals in the 71-70 loss; Wade signed a five year contract (at $75,000 annually) with the University of Maryland on October 30th, leaving behind 11 years of success and a 272-24 record at Dunbar. Wade’s stay in College Park would be just three years, with the Terrapins registering a 36-50 mark over those three seasons.
47 ‘89 Dunbar (22-5) Coach Pete Pompey > MSA A Champion, City League Champion, #1 in the Sun – As Pete Pompey entered his third year at Dunbar, following Bob Wade, the Poets had gone two years without winning the city league title, after a stretch of Wade’s troops winning 10 straight city championships. In ‘89, the Poets would return to prominence, winning both the MSA A championship and the Baltimore City League Championship. The season presented challenges, with Lake Clifton and Southern both boasting a pair of equally talented lineups, and rankings of #2 and #3 when the season came to an end. The Poets clobbered Southern in the season opener, 77-48, but then lost a 80-75 double-overtime ‘instant classic’ to the Bulldogs six weeks later. The Poets regular season matchup with Lake Clifton set an attendance record for a basketball game at Morgan State, and the Lakers took a 74-67 win over their rival. The Poets traveled to Hawaii for Iolani Classic over the holidays, but suffered a pair of losses, including a 74-65 defeat to Oak Hill VA. Still, the Poets posted a handful of quality wins in the regular season, topping Cardinal Gibbons twice, convincingly, and taking out #3 Annapolis, 64-56, on the road. The Poets got revenge on Lake Clifton in the city league semifinals, then reversed the script on Southern in the finals, 54-53, when freshman Donta Bright followed a Deitrich Williams miss for the game-winning buzzer-beater. The Poets faced Cardinal Gibbons for a third time in the MSA A semifinals, and beat the Crusaders a third time, 74-56. Hensley Parks, a 6’6 senior, led the way with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Senior point guard Charlie Hurt scored 18 points and dished out 6 assists, while Williams scored 16 points and hauled in 11 rebounds. The Poets then met Lake Clifton for a third time, ten days after knocking off the Lakers in the city league semifinals. The Poets topped the Lakers again, 77-65, and Hurt took home the Metro Classic MVP award. Dunbar finished #1 in both the Sun and Evening Sun final rankings, while the Lakers finished #2 in the Evening Sun, and #4 in the Sun, and the Bulldogs finished #2 in the Sun, and #3 in the Evening Sun. Parks was named to the All-Met First Team, averaging 18.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. Spencer Ringgold, a 6’5 senior, was named to the All-Met Second Team, and Williams, a 6’3 senior, was named to the third team. Notes; The Poets finished as the Sun’s top ranked team in its final poll for the 10th time in 13 years – ‘77-80, ‘83-86, ‘88-89. Calvert Hall finished #1 in ‘81 and ‘82, and Lake Clifton took the top spot in ‘87.
46 ‘65 Dunbar (20-0) Coach William ‘Sugar’ Cain > MSA A Champion, #1 in the area – The Poets put a bookend on back-to-back MSA A championships, and won their 5th conference title in 9 seasons (‘57, ‘59, ‘60, ‘64), sweeping Carver in the best-of-three series. The Bears had given the Poets their toughest test of the season in the regular season, before falling to the defending champions, 65-62. In the finals, the Poets took Game 1, 50-44, as Dickie Kelly scored 18 points, and 6’4 senior Alton Ervin hauled in 22 rebounds. In Game 2, before 4,598 at the Civic Center, Kelly scored 23 points, including 11 straight points in the third quarter, to push a two point game to an all but insurmountable 13 point lead, ending in a Poets 74-64 victory. Ervin again added 22 rebounds, and 6’4 senior Jimmy Files scored 20 points and snatched 16 rebounds. To get to the finals, the Poets swept their two games with Towson Catholic to clinch the division, including the second of the two, 82-81, with Nat England hitting four free throws down the stretch. Files scored 23 points, Kelly tallied 21, and England netted 17. The Poets averaged 73.9 points per game, and finished the season riding a 26 game winning streak. England and Files were both selected to the All-Met First Team, with England averaging 15.4 points per game, and Files averaging 10 points and 12 rebounds per contest. Kelly, who played just the second half of the season, was named to the All-Met Second Team. Kelly, when playing, created more of an impact on the game than other player in the city. Ervin was named to the All-Met Honorable Mention team, averaging 11 points and 11 rebounds. Notes; Dickie ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly was one of Charm City’s first true playground legends. At Bay City Community College, he averaged 40 points and 13 assists per game, leading the nation among all junior colleges in both categories. ‘Machine Gun’ then went on to play his final two years at Wheeling Jesuit College, where he scored more than 1,300 points in those two seasons, and was named an NAIA All-American as a senior.
45 ‘93 Southern (21-5) Coach Meredith Smith > 4A State Champion, #2 in the Sun – The Bulldogs didn’t start their first season in the MPSSAA with a bang, but they sure left with one. Without one of their best players, Dante Williams, the Bulldogs started out 8-5, including a loss to Rasheed Wallace and nationally top 5 ranked Simon Gratz PA, 71-44. The Bulldogs took on Dunbar DC, the #9 team in the country, in the Charm City Classic at Towson, and fell short of the Crimson Tide, 60-54. The Bulldogs held a 27-21 halftime lead, before the top 10 Tide began the second half with a 26-11 run. The Bulldogs cut the 9 point deficit to one, with 1:25 to go, but couldn’t get over the hump. Shortly thereafter, Williams returned, and the Bulldogs ran off 13 straight wins and captured the 4A state title. After losing to Southwestern without Williams, the Dawgs won handily with him the second time around, 72-53. The Bulldogs saw similar results with Walbrook. After losing to the Warriors in their league tilt, the Bulldogs trounced the Warriors in the 4A North regional final, 72-53, with juniors Kevin Simpson and Damon Cason both scoring 18 points. The Bulldogs edged Thomas Johnson in the state semifinals, 54-51, with Cason recording 25 points, 5 assists, and 5 steals. In the state final versus Potomac, the Bulldogs used a 12-2 run to break open a 29-29 tie and eventually build a 16 point lead in the third quarter before Potomac walked that margin down to 1, with 3:07 to play. Coach Smith’s Bulldogs overcame Williams early season suspension, a flu outbreak that limited then to eight players for a week, and a flood in their gymnasium that displaced three home games. Simpson and Cason, both juniors, were named to the All-Met First Team. Simpson averaged 20.2 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. Cason averaged 17.4 points and an area best 9.7 assists per game. Williams, for his part, was undefeated. Coach Meredith Smith was selected as the Sun’s Coach of the Year. Notes; Simon Gratz PA finished #1 in the country, having beaten the top four teams in Maryland – the Bulldogs, DeMatha (46-40), Dunbar (61-44), and Lake Clifton (60-48).
44 ‘90 Dunbar (22-4) Coach Pete Pompey > City League Champion, MSA Runner-Up, #2 in the Sun – This nucleus was two years away from being the top team in the country. Donta Bright and Mike Lloyd were sophomores, and Keith Booth was a freshman. To add, junior ‘Scooter’ Alexander was one of the best players in the city. The Poets suffered three regular season losses, but just one to a local team – Walbrook, 55-49. The young Poets produced more than a handful of quality wins, having beaten Southern by 14, Towson Catholic by 29, Annapolis by 27, Calvert Hall by 24, Bishop McNamara, Thomas Johnson, and Lake Clifton, before 5,500 at Morgan State. In the 70-64 win over ‘Lake’, Alexander poured in 25 points, and Bright added 20. The Poets edged the Lakers, 71-67, in overtime, coming back from 12 down to force overtime. Lloyd scored 25 points and dealt out 7 assists. Bright added 15 points. In the city title game, the Poets cruised in the rubber match with Walbrook, taking a 35-16 second quarter lead, before walking away with a 89-74 victory. Bright led the way with 25 points, and Lloyd added 20. Bright was the first sophomore to be named the tournament MVP. This was the Poets 12th city title in 14 years. It was on to the MSA A playoffs, and the semifinal presented another meeting with the Lakers, and this time the Poets used an 8-0 run to push their 8 point third quarter lead to 16, before going on to win, 86-63. Lloyd paced the Poets with 25 points. The Poets faced Southern in the MSA A final, played before a Metro Classic crowd of 7,398 at the Civic Center. The Poets saw a 41-41 tie slip to an 8 point deficit, and their subsequent comeback wasn’t enough, losing to the Dawgs, 60-57. Bright and Alexander were named to the All-Met First Team, with Bright averaging 19.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game, and Alexander averaging 16.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and four assists per game. Lloyd was named to the All-Met Second Team, averaging 12.3 points and 9.7 assists per game. The young Poets exceeded expectations, as the Sun’s pre-season #5 (behind Southern, Lake, Annapolis, and Walbrook) finished at #2, behind Southern. Coach Pete Pompey was named the Sun’s Coach of the Year. Notes; Pompey who coached both basketball and football at Edmondson and Dunbar over the course of 31 years, went 533-243 between the two sports at both schools.
43 ‘11 Patterson (25-2) Coach Henry Martin > 4A State Runner-Up, City League Champion, #2 in the Sun – The Clippers did what no other team had ever done in MPSSAA, and no team has done ever since – beat three state champions of that same year. The Clippers went unbeaten in league play, and unbeaten versus every local team they played, but fell just short of undefeated North Point in the state final. The Clippers took out 1A state champion Dunbar, 80-67, in front of 2,400 at Morgan State, as sophomore sensation Aquille Carr torched the Poets for 36 points. The Clippers ran past 2A champ Digital Harbor, 89-78, and used a 9-0 run to break open a 58-58 tie with 3A state champ Milford Mill, and settling for a 79-75 victory. Carr scored 32 points in the win, and 6’3 senior Rickey Meekins added 21 points. The Clippers added a 79-68 win over defending 3A state champion City College, a 85-67 win over Lake Clifton, a 99-70 win over 19-win Randallstown, and a 86-56 win over 20-win Rocky Mount NC at the Basketball Academy at Coppin State. The Clippers won all 15 games versus city league opponents, registering a +26.6 point differential, and allowing just one opponent to come within single digits (Edmondson 70-67). The Clippers one loss was to 22-2 Cardozo NY, on a trip to Baruch College in New York. The Clippers posted a 75-59 win over City College for the city title, with Carr scoring 25 second half points, and finishing with 32. The Clippers met Urbana in the regional final, a Hawks team that had eliminated the Clips from the 2010 regional playoffs. No problem this time, as the Clippers trounced the Hawks, 93-55, and in turn, punched their first ticket to the ‘Final 4’ in the program’s history. Carr scored 43 points. The state semifinal presented a matchup with PG’s Eleanor Roosevelt, who were making their sixth trip to College Park. The Clippers were looking at a double-digit second quarter deficit, and a five point halftime deficit, before using a 18-3 run to open the second half, and they never looked back. The 4A state final featured the 25-1 Clippers versus 26-0 North Point. The Eagles held a single-digit lead throughout most of the game until Meekins hit a three-pointer to give the Clippers their first lead, 66-65, with 3:21 to play. The Clippers held a two point lead with just over two minutes to go, before three turnovers did the Baltimore City champs in, and the Eagles closed the game on an 8-2 run, with two buckets and four free throws, to hand the Clippers a 76-72 loss. Carr scored 27 points, but the sophomore struggled from the field, shooting 9 of 32. Carr was named the Baltimore Sun Player of the Year, becoming the first sophomore to win the award. On the season, ‘The Crimestopper’ averaged 32 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 4.8 steals per game. Sophomore Myrek Lee-Fowlkes was named to the All-Met Second Team, averaging 15.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Meekins finished the season averaging 16.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Notes; Lee-Fowlkes played in three state championship games, winning one with Patterson in his junior year, and winning another with Edmondson in his senior year.
42 ‘67 City College (20-0) Coach Gene Parker > MSA A Champion, #1 in the area – Coming off an undefeated season and MSA A championship, the Black Knights did it again, finishing 20-0 and sweeping Mt St Joe in the best-of-three conference finals. The Black Knights completed their season riding a 40 game win streak, with their last loss coming in February of ‘65. Gone from the undefeated team in ‘66 was Lee Dedmond, the All-Met forward that took his talents to Chapel Hill, Billy Rose, their second leading scorer, and Henry Gareis, the Knights leading rebounder, who went on to start as a defensive end at Maryland. In the MSA A championship series, the Black Knights swept Mt St Joe, 2-0. In Game 1, before 5,500 at the Civic Center, the Knights topped the Gaels, 71-53, snapping their 13 game win streak. Junior Sam Brown paced the Collegians with 16 points, with 12 rebounds, and Marvin Bass added 14 points, on 6-7 shooting. The Black Knights dominated Game 2, routing the Gaels, 65-44, with senior Lenny Hamm scoring 19 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, while senior Gerry Owens scored 15 points, and Brown grabbed 11 rebounds. The Black Knights captured their fourth MSA A title in six years. The Knights recorded a +24.9 point differential for the season. Owens was named to the All-Met First Team, after averaging 15.8 points per game. Both Hamm and Brown were selected to the All-Met Second Team, with Hamm averaging 18 points per game, and Brown averaging 14.7 points and 13 rebounds per game. The Black Knights 40 game win streak was the second longest of its kind among league members ever, trailing only Southern’s 51 game streak that stretched from 1934 to 1937. Notes; Hamm would become the Baltimore City Police Chief in 2004, after 30 years on the force, and served in the position for three years.
41 ‘10 City College (23-2) Coach Mike Daniel > 2A State Champion, #1 in the Sun – The Black Knights nabbed their #1 ranking in the Baltimore area for the first time in 43 years. The Knights won their second straight state championship, behind their defense, topping Gwynn Park, 56-45. The Baltimore City champions limited the Yellowjackets to 29% shooting from the field. Nick Faust paced the Knights with 19 points. The Knights earned a handful of quality wins in the regular season, including victories over fellow state champ Dunbar, Edmondson, Bowie, and a pair of out-of-state foes, 19-3 Longwood VA (19-3) and West Virginia state champion Logan (25-3), 70-49. The Knights lost to DCIAA champ Ballou, 59-52, and Lake Clifton, 69-61. The Knights avenged the Lakers loss with a 60-47 in the regional semifinal, which followed a 93-54 win over Baltimore County runner-up Randallstown in the regional quarterfinal. Junior Nick Faust paced the Knights with 24 points in the win over the Lakers. The Knights pulled out a nail-biter in the regional final, edging Edmondson, 59-58, after the Red Storm saw a shot and two tip-ins miss the mark in the last few seconds. Jordan Latham, the Knights 6’8 star, scored 17 points. The Knights ran roughshod over Easton in the state semifinal, 64-38, setting up the matchup with the Yellowjackets in the final. Latham was named to the All-Met First Team, after averaging 17 points and 8 rebounds per game. Faust, a 6’4 junior, was named to the All-Met Second Team, after leading the Black Knights in scoring, at 19.7 per clip, and averaging 5.3 rebounds per game. Coach Mike Daniel was named the Sun’s Coach of the Year, after adding his back-to-back state titles with the Knights with his four MIAA and four BCL titles he won while at Towson Catholic. Notes; Coach Mike Daniel would move on to Severn, then New Town in, before winning back-to-back state titles with the Titans in 2015 and ‘16; Faust would go on to Maryland, where he’d play 102 games (started 66) for the Terrapins, before transferring to Long Beach State for his senior season. He averaged 8.9, 9.4, and 9.4 points per game in his freshman, sophomore, and junior years for the Terps, before registering 17.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.5 steals per game for the 20-win 49ers. Faust averaged 20.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in his final 14 games with the Niners. Latham played one year Xavier, before coming back home and playing three years at Loyola, where he started his last two years for the Greyhounds. Latham scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a loss to Boston University.
40 ‘99 Dunbar (24-3) Coach Lynn Badham > 1A State Champion, City League Champion, #1 in the Sun – The Poets won their 6th state title in their 7th year participating in the MPSSAA in dominating fashion, blowing out Edgewood, who was making its 7th ‘Final 4’ appearance in the decade, 79-43. Senior Dontaz Dean scored 18 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in the rout, and Calvin Dotson added 17 points. The Poets shot 51.7% from the floor, while limiting the Rams to 28.3% shooting. The Poets held a 29 point lead early in the third quarter. The Poets took on an ambitious regular season schedule, losing to nationally acclaimed Roman Catholic PA, Good Counsel, who was ranked #9 in the country, 62-57, and Duncanville TX, 62-61. The Poets did rout Redondo Beach CA, 67-45, at the Slam Dunk To The Beach tournament in Delaware, where the Poets lost to Good Counsel. The Poets posted a 65-53 win over Booker T Washington VA at the Mayors Academy. The Poets went unbeaten in both league play and versus local opponents. After seeing West Baltimore schools win city titles in ‘97 (Southwestern) and ‘98 (Southern), the Poets brought the city crown back to the ‘Eastside’, with a 75-60 win over Southwestern. Dean scored 24 points and hauled in 16 rebounds, while senior transfer Lafonte Johnson scored 21 points and provided 5 assists. On the road to the finals, the Poets crushed Decatur in the regional final, 82-55, after running out to a 13 point lead after one quarter, and a 23 point halftime lead. Dean scored 20 points and pulled in 14 rebounds, and Johnson added 19 points. In the state semifinal, the Poets held off Central, 58-52, after staking a 57-40 lead early in the fourth quarter. Johnson led the way for the Poets, scoring 23 points. Dean, a 6’7 senior, was named to the All-Met First Team, averaging 15.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 5.1 blocked shots per game. Lafonte Johnson was also named to the All-Met First Team, after averaging 18.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game. Johnson, a two-time All-Met, came over from Towson Catholic for his senior season. Dotson, Matt Johnson, 6’5 junior Pierre Tucker, and Arnold Bowie, also contributed to the Poets success. Coach Lynn Badham’s Poets won their final 20 games. Notes; Dean would team with former Poet Jamal Brown at Seward County Community College in Kansas, helping lead the Saints to win 31 games in ‘01. Dean played one year at Georgia State. LaFonte Johnson played two seasons at UNLV, and two seasons at George Washington. Johnson scored a career-high 17 points as a freshman for the Runnin’ Rebels in a win over BYU.
39 ‘81 Lake Clifton (22-5) Coach Woody Williams > MSA A Champion, City League Runner-Up, #3 in the Sun – The Lakers split the two major titles with the Poets of Dunbar, winning the MSA A title in double-overtime versus the Poets, 62-61, and losing the city title to the four-time defending champs, 74-70. The Lakers posted a pair of wins over the Poets (split two in the regular season), two over Walbrook, and another over Towson Catholic (88-73). ‘Lake’ clinched their fifth Baltimore City Division II in seven years, with a 74-64 win over the Indians. Senior Eddie Johnson scored 22 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, and junior Melvin Mathis scored 21 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. At 6’8 and 6’7, respectively, Johnson and Mathis paired together to showcase one of the best front courts in the region. In addition to a pair of losses (split four games) to the Poets, the defending MSA A and city champs lost to Dunbar DC, Walbrook in overtime, and Annapolis, 52-50, for the first time in the Cap City Classic. The Lakers led by one over ‘Nap Town’ with seven seconds to play, before receiving two technical fouls and committing a turnover. Eddy Payton paced the Lakers with 23 points. The Lakers fell just short of the Poets in the city title game, 74-70, with Johnson scoring 23 points. In the MSA A final that followed, the Lakers came back from five down with 28 seconds to go in regulation to force overtime, before pulling out a 62-61 overtime win. The Lakers went up 62-59 in overtime on a Mathis jumper and free throw, before the Poets David Wingate cut it to one with 23 seconds to go in the extra session. After a Lakers turnover, Wingate missed a potential game-winner at the buzzer, and the Lakers snapped the Poets 20 game win streak, their first loss since losing 67-59 in the opening week Poet-Laker Classic. Johnson scored 35 points and hauled in 19 rebounds in the win. In the season-ending post-season 87-83 victory over Mackin, the Lakers withstood 35 points from Mackin star Johnny Dawkins, as Johnson matched the 35 points, on 14-15 shooting, and Mathis added 20 points. Johnson was named to the All-Met First Team, and Mathis, who averaged 20.1 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, was named to the All-Met Second Team. Notes; Johnson played four years at Xavier, playing in 117 games, starting 106, and finished his Musketeers career with 956 points and 578 rebounds. Johnson averaged 12.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and shot 56.3% from the field for Pete Gillen’s 25-win, ‘86 Musketeers, and scored 15 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in their NCAA tournament game loss to Alabama. Mathis, a year behind Johnson, played four years at Drake, following in the footsteps of former Lakers star, Rodney ‘Pop’ Wright. Mathis averaged 19.1 points and 8.6 rebounds as a sophomore in Des Moines, and finished six points away from becoming the Bulldogs all-time leading scorer at the time, with 1,651 points, and still ranks as the program’s all-time leading rebounder, with 853. Mathis was a three-time All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team selection; The Lakers snapped the Poets four year hold on the MSA A title.
38 ‘88 Dunbar (23-5) Coach Pete Pompey > MSA A Champion, #1 in the Sun, #22 in the USA – Two S’s, two L’s, Sam Cassell. Cassell was a sort of child prodigy on the courts in ‘Charm City’ coming up. This was Cassell’s senior year, a year after Dunbar was shut out from either a MSA A or Baltimore City League title for the first time in 11 years. The Poets had won ten straight city titles, and nine of the last ten MSA A titles. Lake Clifton swept both crowns in ‘87, and finished ranked #12 in the country. The ‘87-88 season would prove to be one of the more competitive in the Baltimore City league’s history, with the Poets, Lakers, Walbrook, and quickly emerging Southern battling for top honors. All four would finish among the top 5 in the Sun’s final rankings. The Poets took two of three with Lake Clifton in the regular season, not including an 82-74 overtime win to clinch the Division I title, and give them a #1 seed in the MSA A playoffs. Senior Kevin Green scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while junior forward Spencer Ringgold added 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Poets lost their one regular season meeting with Southern, then were eliminated by the Bulldogs in the city league semifinals. Outside of the losses to ‘Lake’ and Southern, the only other two Poets losses came at the hands of a pair of national top 10 teams – St. Anthony’s NJ and Flint Hill VA. Cassell scored 35 points in a 93-84 win over Catholic League champ, Cardinal Gibbons. Despite the loss to Southern in the city league semifinals, the Poets still had the one seed, and a rematch of their league semifinal, a third meeting with the Bulldogs of Southern looming. The Poets took control midway through the first quarter and held the lead the rest of the way in a 77-73 win. Cassell registered 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists, while Green recorded 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Ringgold scored 11 points and hauled in 16 rebounds. In the MSA A final, the Poets were looking for their fourth win in five meetings with the Lakers that season, and a little redemption, for not winning the city title, and the Lakers dominance over the Poets the year before. In a back and forth contest, Cassell ignited a 11-0 run early in the fourth quarter, turning a one point deficit into a 70-60 lead, and the Lakers never came within five again. Cassell scored 24 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, and dropped 9 ‘dimes’ in the 82-72 win. Lewis Lambert, a 6’5 senior, scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. This was the Poets 17th MSA A title. Cassell was named the Sun’s Player of the Year, averaging 21.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 9.4 assists. Lambert joined Cassell on the All-Met First Team, averaging 17.8 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. Both Green and Ringgold were named to the All-Met Second Team. The Poets finished ranked #22 in Basketball Weekly’s final national rankings. Notes; After a year at Maine Central, Cassell went to San Jacinto in Houston for two years, before moving on to Florida State. Cassell averaged 18.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.8 assists in his junior season for the Seminoles, and 20.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.0 assists, while shooting 51.2% from the floor his senior season. Cassell averaged 19.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 4.0 assists, in his seven NCAA tournament games, which included the Seminoles advancing to the ‘Elite 8’ his senior year. Cassell was drafted 24th overall in the 1994 NBA Draft. In his rookie year, Cassell scored 22 points and dished out 7 assists in the Rockets Game 7 win over the Suns in the Western Conference Final. Cassell won three NBA championships, two with Houston in ‘94 and ‘95, and the last with Boston in ‘08. Cassell was an All-Star in ‘04, averaging 19.8 points and 7.3 assists per game for the Timberwolves. Cassell finished his 15 year career in the NBA with 15,615 points, 5,939 rebounds, 3,221 rebounds, and 1,058 steals. Green went on to Loyola and scored 2,154 points, which currently ranks 2nd all-time on the Greyhounds career list. Green averaged more than 19 points per game in each of his last three seasons, including averaging 22.1 points per game his junior year, hitting an incredible 45.6% of his shots beyond the arc, and 80.2% at the line. Green’s senior year, he averaged 20 points per game, shot 43% from the three point line, and an overall 50.2% from the field.
37 ‘18 Poly (22-6) Coach Sam Brand > 3A State Champion, City League Champion, #3 in the Sun – Two years after winning their first city title, and a year after winning their first state title, the Poly Engineers swept both championships for the first time in the program’s history, and earned its highest ranking it ever had in the final poll – #3, as well as being the top ranked public school in the Baltimore region. The Engineers ambitious schedule served itself well when the post-season rolled around. The Engineers lost to only one city opponent, in a year the city produced three state champions – the Engineers in 3A, Lake Clifton in 2A, and Dunbar in 1A. The Engineers lost to the Lakers in a 38-34 donnybrook, but it didn’t prevent Tech from winning their second Baltimore City League championship. Two years after topping Dunbar, 64-43, for their first league title, the Engineers put away the Poets, 54-37, for their second, with junior Justin Lewis scoring 15 points. Lewis made his mark in the Engineers 65-61 regular season win over the fellow state champion Poets, when he registered 36 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists. The Poets had entered the game undefeated, at 18-0. While the Engineers suffered a handful of single-digit losses to either national or regional powers – 36 win, MIAA and BCL champ St Frances (65-57), #22 in the country Simeon IL (71-64), #2 John Carroll (75-67), DCIAA champ Wilson DC (56-53), and 22-5 Olympic NC (45-41), they also produced a handful of quality wins as well, with the pair of victories over the Poets, a 72-63 win over 4A state champ Perry Hall, a 24 point win over Riverdale Baptist, and a quartet of quality wins in the post-season. In the 72-63 win over 4A state champ Perry Hall, one of three wins over fellow state champions, two-time All-Met Demetrius Mims scored 29 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, tallying 9 points in the final stanza. The Engineers had one of the toughest matchups in the regional semifinals, among all, going on the road to take on the 21-2 Potomac Wolverines. The Engineers prevailed with a 61-58 victory, with Lewis scoring 23 points, and Mims adding 18. The Engineers traveled to St Mary’s County for the ‘regional’ championship, to face Great Mills, who was riding a 17 game win streak. The defending state champions ended that streak, and put away the Hornets, 60-54. In the state semifinal, Engineers dismantled 19-win Decatur, staking a 38-19 halftime lead, and coasting to a 63-46 win. Mims poured in 30 points, and along the way became the Engineers all-time leading scorer. After taking on a PG power in the regional semifinal, a SMAC power in the regional final, and a Bayside power in the state semifinal, Baltimore County was up next in the final, in the name of 20-win Milford Mill. The Engineers engineered an 11 point fourth quarter lead before the Millers clawed back before bowing, 49-47. The Engineers two stars scored 37 of their 49 points, with Lewis scoring 20 points and hauling in 12 rebounds, and Mims scoring 17 points in his last high school game. Both Mims and Lewis were named to the All-Met First Team, with the 6’5 Mims averaging 18.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, and Lewis, the 6’7 sophomore, averaging 15.2 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Mims finished his scholastic career with 1,516 points. Sophomore point guard Rahim Ali, started in his second ‘’Final 4’, and won his second state championship. The Engineers also were aided by Seth Jones, Cleveland Horton, 6’8 junior Amani Walker, and senior Kim Brown. Notes; 2018 was third time three Baltimore City schools won a state title in the same season, following ‘trifectas’ in 2009 and 2012. Poly, Patterson, and Lake Clifton, would make it four times a year later, in 2019; Mims went to Long Beach State his freshman year in college, and after sitting out a year, now plays for Towson.
36 ‘13 Dunbar (26-2) Coach Cyrus Jones > 1A State Champion, City League Champion, #1 in the Sun – The 2013 Poets produced the second most amount of victories in 20 years for the fabled program, punctuating the season with city league and state titles. The Poets won their state record 15th state title, and their fourth straight state championship. In the city title game versus Edmondson, the Poets came back from five down with less than a minute to go to force overtime, then came back from three down with less than 40 seconds remaining in the extra session, before Daxter Miles hit what turned out to be the game-winner, down two, from the top of they with :09 to go to give the Poets a 74-73 overtime win. Miles led the scoring with 24 points. Junior guard Kamau Stokes added 20 points, including scoring the last five points and grabbing the steal that led to his game-tying shot. The regular season matchup with the Red Storm, who went on to win the 2A state championship, was much of the same, as the Poets took a 82-75 double-overtime triumph, after trailing by 10 in the fourth quarter. Miles poured in 32 points, scoring the Poets last 13 points. The Poets posted regular season victories over 26-win, CBAA champ Riverdale Baptist (45-37), 26-win John Carroll (69-58), 27-4, DCIAA runner-up Theodore Roosevelt (79-62), 21-6 City College (58-48), and 20-win, 4A semifinalist Poly (55-43). The Poets suffered two losses all season, a 69-59 loss to DCIAA champ Coolidge, and a 54-47 defeat to Lake Clifton. Overall, the Poets recorded six top 10 wins, not including victories over Riverdale Baptist and Theodore Roosevelt. The Poets ripped through their regional playoffs, winning the three games by a margin of +26.7 points. The state semifinal added to that margin, when the Poets pummeled Washington from the Eastern Shore, 70-41. The Poets faced a more familiar foe in the state title game, New Town, a year after defeating the Titans in the 1A state championship game, 60-36. The rematch would prove to be different, as the Poets trailed by two late, before Stokes came through again, tying the game with 2:26 to play, then providing the eventual game-winner to clinch the Poets fourth consecutive state title, 54-52. Miles, a 6’2 senior, was named to the All-Met First Team, averaging 15 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals per game. Stokes, a 5’11 junior, was named to the All-Met Second Team, averaging 14 points per game. Senior Keandre Gibson, junior guard Anthony Brown, and 6’7 posts, Trevis Buchanan and Brendon Smith, all contributed to the Poets success. Notes; Miles played for four years at West Virginia under Bob Huggins, playing 136 games, starting in 124 contests. Miles and the Mountaineers advanced to the NCAA tournament in all four of his years, and he finished his career in Morgantown with 1,311 points, 330 rebounds, 241 assists, and 177 steals. Stokes transferred to City College for his senior season, and helped lead the Knights to an undefeated state championship season. After a year of post-graduate work at Fork Union, Stokes played four years at Kansas State for Bruce Weber, playing 119 games, starting in 107 contests. Stokes finished his Wildcats career with 1,242 points and 415 assists.
35 ‘90 Southern (21-3) Coach Meredith Smith > MSA A Champion, #1 in the Sun – After knocking on the door of a major title for two straight years, the Bulldogs knocked that door down, holding on to victory in a 60-57 win over Dunbar for the MSA A championship, before 7,398 at the Baltimore Arena. The Dawgs advanced to the city title games in ‘87 and ‘88, only to fall short of Lake Clifton and Dunbar, respectively. The Bulldogs used a third quarter run, spurred on by a bucket by junior Anthony Dantzler, followed by a three-pointer from junior David Cason to give the Bulldogs a 49-41 lead, before holding on to an historic three point win. Cason scored 18 points, while Dantzler added 17 points and took home the MSA A tournament MVP trophy. The Bulldogs were eliminated by Walbrook in the city league semifinals, 49-48, before getting payback with the Warriors in the MSA A semifinals, 69-59, after staking a 21 point halftime lead. Senior Tyrone Johnson scored 13 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and blocked 6 shots in the win. Cason dished out 12 assists. The Bulldogs won a trio of games in Hampton Roads over the holiday, including wins over Potomac, and then 9-0 Maury VA in the final. The Bulldogs topped then #2 Lake Clifton, 57-48, with 6’9 senior Adam Johnson scoring 14 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, and blocking six shots. The Bulldogs avenged all three of their losses – two lost by a point, getting back at Cardinal Gibbons after a 52-51 loss to the Crusaders, walking past Walbrook in the MSA A semifinals after a 49-48 loss to the Warriors, and flipping the script on Dunbar in the conference finals. The Bulldogs had entered the season as the pre-season #1 team in the area, and left the post-season as the #1 team in the area, for the very first time in more than 50 years. Adam Johnson was named to the All-Met First Team, averaging 11.3 points, 11.5 rebounds, and four blocked shots per game. Cason and Dantzler were both selected to the All-Met Second Team. Notes; Johnson and Cason would join former Bulldogs star Craig Tyson at the College of Southern Idaho, where they would help lead the Eagles to a 34-4 record, and a NJCAA ‘Final 4’ berth in 1992. Tyson was named a NJCAA All-American.
34 ‘98 Dunbar (25-3) Coach Lynn Badham > 2A State Champion, City League Runner-Up, #1 in the Sun, #18 in the USA – The Poets notched a pair of wins against nationally ranked top 5 teams at the Slam Dunk to the Beach tournament, edging #3 Dominguez CA, 70-66, and outlasting #5 St. Edward’s OH, 67-63, before losing to #9 St. Patrick’s NJ, 56-47, in the tourney final. The Poets snapped the Dons of Compton 21 game win streak, while 6’6 junior Jamal Brown scored 22 of his 56 points in the holiday tournament in the win over the #5 Eagles. In the final, St. Patrick’s NJ Al Harrington scored 35 points. The Poets gained a win over DCIAA champ Anacostia, 58-55, and a win over LaSalle NY, 62-51, in West Virginia, before suffering one of their three losses on the season, to Wheeling WV, 79-65, after shooting a dismal 22-71 from the floor. The Poets posted a 89-72 win over Douglass, with Brown scoring 27 points, junior Tim Lyles adding 23, and 6’5 junior Dontaz Dean scoring 21 points and registering 12 rebounds. The Ducks would upset the Poets in the city title game, 78-74, the first loss in the city championship game for the storied program in its 15th appearance. Still, the Poets would steady the course and win its fifth state title in its 6th year competing in the MPSSAA, despite the loss of Lyles, who was kicked off of the team in mid-season. The Poets stopped Middletown, 52-39, in the state semifinal, then controlled Central, who had just won their 4th straight PG title, 57-40, in the state final. Brown scored 13 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and blocked five shots, while Dean scored 11 points and snatched 14 rebounds. The Poets went wire-to-wire at #1 in the area. Brown was named the Sun’s Player of the Year, after averaging 20.1 points, 14 rebounds, and 5.3 blocked shots per game. Dean was named to the All-Met Second Team. Larry Tucker, a 6’4 junior who scored 12 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in the final, was a key contributor, as was Arnold Bowie, Derek Jones, Tony Johnson, and Lyles, before his departure. Notes; Brown would play for two years at Seward County Community College in Kansas, where he averaged 18.9 points and 11.9 rebounds over his two years, and was selected as a NJCAA All-American in 2000. Brown still ranks as Saints all-time leading rebounder, with 775, and ranks fifth all-time in scoring, with 1,227 points in his two years. Brown transferred to TCU, where he led the Horned Frogs in rebounding in both of his years in Fort Worth, averaging 8.6 rebounds as a junior, and 9.0 rebounds as a senior.
33 ‘81 Dunbar (24-3) Coach Bob Wade > City League Champion, MSA A Runner-Up, #2 in the Sun – Coach Bob Wade’s Poets program entered the 1980-81 season having won four straight Public School (City) League championships, and four straight MSA A titles, following a two year sweep by Lake Clifton in ‘75 and ‘76. The Poets lost the opener to the Lakers, 67-59, in the Poets-Laker Classic, then reeled off 19 straight victories, including a 68-64 win at Lake Clifton, with 6’4 junior David Wingate pacing the Poets with 21 points, 6’6 senior Kevin Woods adding 17, and 6’6 junior Reggie ‘Russ’ Williams adding 15. The Poets hadn’t lost to a Baltimore area school since 1976, until the loss to the Lakers in the finals. The Poets picked up a 60-51 win over #4 Annapolis, to snap the Panthers 16 game win streak. The Poets went on to beat Walbrook, 69-54, in the public school semifinals, outscoring the Warriors, 40-23, in the second half. Wingate scored 27 points and Williams scored 26 points. That set up a third showdown with Lake Clifton for the city title. The Poets used a 6-0 run in the third quarter to go ahead of the Lakers, where they stayed for good, winning their fifth straight city league championship, 74-70. Williams scored 12 of his team-high 22 points in the fourth quarter. Wingate scored 21 points and was selected as the tournament’s MVP. Next up was the MSA A championship game, with who else, the Lakers, of course. The Poets were up by four with less than 30 seconds to play, before the Lakers delivered a miracle, thanks to a steal, and a ‘and 1’ to send it to overtime. The two ‘Charm City’ titans battled to a 59-59 tie after the first extra session, forcing a second. After the Lakers scored the only three points through the first two and a half minutes of the second overtime, Wingate scored a bucket to cut it to 62-61, with :23 to play. The Poets forged a Lakers turnover, but Wingate’s potential game-winner went awry. The loss snapped the Poets 22 game win streak. Williams scored 26 points in the loss, while Wingate added 18. Then came the season finale with the Catholic League champ, Calvert Hall, who was the top ranked team in the area, with a 27-1 record. The Cardinals only loss was to Dunbar DC, losing by a point. The Poets-Cards ‘81 matchup would turn out to be one for the ages, with the ‘Hall’ pulling out a thrilling 94-91 triple-overtime victory before 5,028 at the Towson Center. The Poets blew a nine point lead with 1:26 to play, thanks to a handful of turnovers, missed free throws, and an opportunistic Cardinals team. Woods tip-in attempt at the buzzer in regulation bounced out. The first overtime went scoreless. The Cards scored the first six points in the third overtime, and hung on for the victory. Woods and Willians were named to the All-Met First Team, with Woods averaging 15.1 points and 13 rebounds per game, and Williams averaging 18.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Wingate, who had transferred from Northern, was named to the All-Met Second Team, after averaging 16.4 points per game. Greg Graham, younger brother of former league stars Kevin and Ernie, was a key piece for the Poets, as were Herman Braxton and Rodney Coffield. Notes; Woods would be one of first Baltimore City League players to play for a major college program when he signed with Tennessee, following City’s Lee Dedmon going to Chapel Hill in ‘66, and Dunbar’s (and ‘Lake’) Ernie Graham going to College Park in ‘77.
32 ‘05 Walbrook (26-2) Coach Kevin Bridgers > 4A State Champion, City League Champion, #1 in the Sun – The Warriors won both their first city league and state championships, and produced their most successful season in the program’s admirable history, going 26-2 and receiving the season finale’s #1 ranking for the very first time. The Warriors topped fellow state champion Dunbar twice, the first was the first the Warriors ever won at Dunbar, and the second in their 65-63 city title game victory over the Poets. In the 56-53 win at Dunbar, 6’4 senior Velmar Coleman scored 21 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and dished out 6 assists. Junior Rodney Spruill added 16 points and 9 rebounds. In the city final thriller, the Poets potential game-tying lay-in was ruled to go in after the buzzer, and the Warriors prevailed. Spruill scored 27 points and recorded 10 rebounds. The regular season saw the Warriors lose to Dunbar of DC in a holiday tournament, before beating the Crimson Tide in the Mayors Academy. Gwynn Park handed the Poets their only other loss at the Mayors Academy. The Warriors topped 22-win Southwestern twice – 54-38 in the regular season, spurred by a 23-7 third quarter margin, with Spruill scoring 20 points and grabbing 9 rebounds, and then again in the regional final, when the Warriors dispatched the Sabres, 56-43, with the 6’4 Spruill scoring 14 points and hauling in 14 rebounds. The Warriors faced 24-3 Old Mill, the Anne Arundel County champion, in the state semifinal. The Warriors shut down the Patriots, 51-41, with Coleman leading the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds. The Warriors used their defense to stave off 23-3 Blake in the state final, limiting the Bengals to 12 second half points in a 45-38 win. The Warriors finished the season with a 17 game win streak. Spruill, a junior, was named Baltimore City Player of the Year, after averaging 16.9 points and 12.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 42% from beyond the arc, 74% from the field, and 81% from the line. Coleman joined Spruill on the All-Met First Team, and averaged 16.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game. Senior forward Ed Tyson was named to the All-Met Second Team. Notes; ‘Rocky’ Coleman would go on to play at Towson under Pat Kennedy for four years, averaging 6.1 points in 28 minutes per game in his freshman year. Spruill followed Coleman to Towson and played two years there, averaging 12.3 points per game in his abbreviated sophomore season.
31 ‘01 Dunbar (27-1) Coach Eric ‘Smiley’ Lee > 1A State Champion, City League Champion, #1 in the Sun – The 2001 Poets #15 pre-season ranking was likely its lowest in a half of century (if not ever), but Coach ‘Smiley’ Lee’s ‘01 Poets put together a season for the record books, winning the city title, winning their 7th state title in nine years, and finishing 27-1 and with the #1 ranking in the area. The Poets 27 wins were the most in a season since its national championship team of ‘92 went 29-0. This, after Lynn Badham stepped down as coach five days before practice began, and Lee stepped in at his alma mater. To add, the Poets saw two projected starters transfer to Southern. The Poets posted wins over then #1 Southern, 80-73, then #3 Aberdeen, 70-66, and a pair over DC powers Dunbar and Ballou, 71-60 and 94-68, respectively. In the win over the top ranked Bulldogs, senior Steve Miller scored 22 points, and senior Kenny Minor scored 14 points, dished out 8 assists, and tallied five steals. In the win over ‘The Deen’, Minor led the way with 19 points, while junior James Taylor added 18 points. In addition to the wins over #7 Southern and #4 Aberdeen, the Poets registered top 10 wins over #2 Lake Clifton, #6 Walbrook, and #9 Douglass. The Poets only loss was to Harrisburg PA, 82-72, in a holiday tournament. The Poets took out Southern again, 79-73, in the city title game, with Kenny Minor scoring 20 points and dishing out 7 assists, JuJuan Robinson scoring 17 points and adding 5 assists, and Miller and Taylor both adding 14 points each. The Poets held off 25-1 Wicomico, 45-43, to capture their 7th state title. Coach Eric ‘Smiley’ Lee was named Coach of the Year. Minor and Miller were both named to the All-Met First Team. Minor, a 5’7 senior, averaged 17.9 points, 10.1 assists, and 4.8 steals per game. Miller, a 6’3 senior, averaged 16.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per game. Taylor, a junior, was named to the All-Met Second Team. Robinson, Reggie Cornell, and Victor Moran, all provided punch for the Poets. The Poets finished with a 20 game win streak. Notes; Minor played for four years at Manhattan under Bobby Gonzalez, making NCAA tournament appearances in back-to-back years with the Jaspers in his freshman and sophomore seasons. As a sophomore, Minor scored 8 points in 16 minutes in the Jaspers 84-80 NCAA second round tournament loss to Chris Paul and Wake Forest.
30 ‘19 Poly (22-5) Coach Sam Brand > 3A State Champion, #2 in the Sun – By the start of the 2018-19 season, Poly had established itself as a legitimate Baltimore City juggernaut, having won back-to-back 3A state championships, and making three straight city title game appearances, winning two, in ‘16 and ‘18, and losing the other by two points to fellow state champ Patterson in ‘17. The ‘19 Engineers won their third straight 3A state title, becoming the first school in MPSSAA history to win three straight in the classification. The ‘19 Engineers put together a deep list of quality wins, including ten victories over teams with 16 wins or more. The Engineers edged #3, 38-7 St. Frances, 59-58, 27-win, WCAC power St. John’s DC, 59-58, in overtime, and a 20 point win over fellow state champion and 24 game winner Lake Clifton, 76-56. Junior Brandon Murray led the Engineers with 20 points in the win over the #3 Panthers, who went on to win the MIAA and BCL titles. Junior Rahim Ali provided the game-winning bucket just before the buzzer in overtime to top the WCAC runner-up Cadets, which followed his game-tying three-pointer with a second to play in regulation. Ali scored 15 points and dished out 6 assists, and All-Met junior Justin Lewis scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. The Engineers also recorded wins over 25-win St. Maria Goretti (68-61), 18-win Mt. Zion Academy from Durham NC (53-52), 20-win Edmondson (49-48), 17-win Granby VA (54-44), and 14-9 Bowie (62-48). Among the four losses the Engineers lost on the court, two came to DCIAA champ, 25-win Wilson, one came to 22-6 Westtown PA, and the other was a 67-64 overtime loss to fellow state champion Patterson, in a game the Clippers hadn’t taken their first lead until overtime. The Engineers lead grew to as many as 14 in the first half, before watching the advantage disappear. The Engineers forfeited their opener to Digital Harbor for having an unauthorized practice session. The Engineers ripped through the regional semifinal and final, after a 65-64 scare to arch rival City College in the regional quarterfinal. The Engineers topped 18-5 Oxon Hill, 77-55, then did away with 19-5 St. Charles, 69-54, in the regional final. The Engineers then cruised through the ‘Final 4’, running out to a double-digit first half lead in its 72-54 win over CM Wright in the state semifinal, then racing to a 33-7 lead in its 69-41 rout of Reservoir in the final, to win its third straight state crown. Lewis, a 6’7 junior, was named to the All-Met First Team for a second time, averaging 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, and was joined by Ali, who averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 assists, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.8 steals per game. Murray, a 6’4 junior transfer from New York, was named to the All-Met Second Team. Wallace and 6’9 senior Amani Walker were among the other key pieces for the Engineers. Notes; The Engineers returned their ‘Big 3’ in 2020, but their quest for a fourth straight state championship came to an abrupt halt due to Covid-19, just before the ball was to tip in College Park.
29 ‘96 Southern (24-3) Coach Meredith Smith > 4A State Champion, #3 in the Sun, #16 in the USA – The Bulldogs won their third state championship in four years, set a program record with 24 wins, and finished with a national top 25 ranking for the second time in three years. By 1996, Southern had a target on its back, locally, regionally, and nationally. The Bulldogs entered the season having finished the last 11 seasons with a top 10 ranking in the Sun in each one, 8 of the last 9 in the top 5, and a national #2 ranking in ‘94. To add, the Bulldogs were nearly a decade in from taking on national powers from New York, New Jersey, and beyond. The Bulldogs defeated defending New Jersey state champion Pleasantville, 70-66, in overtime, and Delaware state champ St. Mark’s, 32-22, in a game of slow-down. Senior Dedric Galloway scored 25 points in the win over Pleasantville. The ‘Dawgs’ also posted wins over Dunbar DC (56-49) in the Charm City Classic, and St. Raymond’s NY. Locally, the Bulldogs bit Lake Clifton, 75-55, and chomped then 17-1 Southwestern, 78-37. The Bulldogs suffered three losses, two to a pair of top 10 teams – St. Anthony’s NJ and Rice NY. The Bulldogs led St. Anthony’s 28-22, before the Friars turned things around in a 56-44 win. St. Anthony’s finished #1 in the country for a second time, seven years after winning their first ‘mythical’ national championship. Two years after upsetting then #1 Rice, featuring Felipe Lopez, the Raiders got payback with a 74-52 win over the Bulldogs in the Capital City Classic. The Bulldogs only other loss was to fellow state champion Dunbar, 78-70, in a testy contest. The Bulldogs topped #8 Southwestern, 78-68, in the regional semifinal, with Galloway scoring 24 points and 6’6 senior All-Met Johnny Hemsley scoring 22. The ‘Dawgs’ then took out #6 Lake Clifton, 70-65, in the regional final, in the second of two wins over the defending state champions. The Bulldogs dominated Paint Branch in the 4A semifinal, staking a 32-12 halftime lead, before cruising to a 74-35 rout. Hemsley led the way with 22 points, while Galloway followed with 20. The Bulldogs had no problems winning their third 4A state title in four years, thumping Northwestern of Prince George’s County, 64-41, in the state championship game. The Bulldogs ran out to a 36-19 halftime lead, and coasted. The Bulldogs stayed ranked among the top 25 teams nationally, from wire-to-wire in the USA Today, settling in at #16 in the final rankings. Both seniors Hemsley and Galloway were named to the All-Met First Team, with Hemsley averaging 17.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.5 assists, and Galloway adding 18.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game. Senior point guard Marlon Wise joined his two teammates on the All-Met team, averaging 12.3 points and an area-leading 13.9 assists per game. Senior 6’8 post Kofi Pointer and Brian Kennedy, who scored 24 points in the first win over Lake Clifton, were also instrumental in the Bulldogs success. Notes; Hemsley played four years at the University of Miami under Leonard Hamilton, starting his last three years for the ‘Canes, leading his team to the NCAA tournament in all three seasons. Hemsley, who played his first two years alongside Lake Clifton’s Kevin Norris in Miami, averaged 17.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.4 steals per game as a junior, and a team-best 18.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per game as a senior. Hemsley, a two-time All-Big East selection, finished his college career with 1,497 points, 389 rebounds, 178 assists, and 113 steals. Hemsley left Miami as its 7th all-time leading scorer, and now ranks 12th. Pointer played his first year at Providence, before sitting out a year and playing his final two years at Coppin State, where he averaged 11.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in his senior season.
28 ‘17 Patterson (26-3) Coach Henry Martin > 2A State Champion, City League Champion, #2 in the Sun – Six years prior to the 2016-17 season, the Clippers began it’s ascent as a major player on the ‘Charm City’ high school basketball landscape, riding the shoulders of a sophomore sensation, winning their first major title in more than sixty years. Six years later, the Clippers would ride the talents of a sophomore again. Just as ‘The Crimestopper’, Aquille Carr, won the Sun’s Player of the Year as a soph’ in 2011, Marvin Price would do the same in 2017. The Clippers would win the 2A crown, just the second in the program’s history, and along the way topped the eventual 4A and 3A state champions, and the 3A, 2A, and 1A runner-ups. After a heartbreaking 54-51 overtime loss to 3A state champ Poly, the Clippers edged the Engineers in the city title game, 42-40. Price scored 20 of the Clippers 42 points in the city league championship game. Earlier, in the Dundalk Holiday Tournament, the Clippers put away 4A state champ Perry Hall, 58-47, handing the Sun’s eventual #1 ranked Gators one of their two losses. The Gators cut a one-time 16 point deficit to four, 40-36, before the Clippers went on a 10-0 run to put the game all but away. The Clippers also beat 3A runner-up Potomac, 89-76, at the Mayors Academy, and stomped 1A runner-up Edmondson, 78-47, in city league play. To add, the Clippers recorded victories over 19-win Lake Clifton (69-59), 18-win Dunbar (49-47), and 19-win Glenelg Country (60-42). Other than the regular season loss to Poly, the Clippers only other losses were to St. Frances (86-52), and 30-win Riverdale Baptist (68-65). The Clippers topped the Poets a second time, 64-58, in the regional semifinal, then pushed a one point halftime lead over Randallstown into a 73-50 rout in the regional final, with Price pouring in 28 points. The Clippers ran past Harford Tech by 19 in the state semifinal, the stood off 24-win CM Wright in the state title game, 49-43. The Clippers needed a 7-0 run in the final stanza to get ahead of the Mustangs, and managed to keep it that way. In all, the Clippers defeated ten teams that won 18 games or more. Price, the 6’4 sophomore transfer from DeMatha, was named the Sun’s Player of the Year, following a year where he averaged 23.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game, while shooting 50% from the field, and 40% from beyond the arc. Gerard Mungo, a 6’0 sophomore classmate of Price, was named to the All-Met Second Team, averaging 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists per game. Christian Adams, a 6’7 senior post, was key inside for the Clips, as was 6’4 sophomore Byron Easter, while sophomore guard Dasean Jones and 6’3 senior John Thomas also contributed for the city and state champions. Notes; Price transferred to Huntington Prep in West Virginia for his junior season, before coming back to Patterson and winning another state title in his senior year in 2019. Price started his career at Ohio University, before transferring to Salt Lake City Community College.
27 ‘80 Dunbar (23-3) Coach Bob Wade > MSA A Champion, City League Champion, #1 in the Sun – The ‘79-80 Poets ushered the program from being a household name among basketball aficionados on the Eastern seaboard in the 70s, into a household name among basketball fans across the country. The Poets won their fourth straight Baltimore City public school tournament, and won their fourth straight MSA A conference title. The Poets ran their win streak versus Baltimore area competition to 78 games, including a 63-0 record against city league opponents over four years. The Poets began the season with a 69-66 overtime win over Lake Clifton in the Poet-Laker Classic, thanks to a Dwayne Wood buzzer-beater to send it to an extra session. The Poets had their 26 overall game win streak come to an end in a Knights of Columbus tournament in December, losing to nationally ranked Spingarn, 64-61. The Poets would lose to only one other team, nationally ranked McKinley Tech DC twice, at a holiday tournament in Virginia, and a season-ending Knights of Columbus tournament. The Poets routed defending 4A runner-up Annapolis, 78-46, as the Poets shot 56.9% from the field (33-58), with Dwayne Wood leading the Poets with 31 points, 10 assists, and 8 steals. The Poets trumped #5 Walbrook in both the City League final and the MSA A Conference final. Wood paced the Poets in the city title game over the Warriors, registering 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Kevin Woods, a 6’6 junior, led the way in the MSA A title game, scoring 16 points. Wood and senior Kevin Bush were named to the Sun’s All-Met First Team, with Wood averaging 16.3 points, 6 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game, and Bush averaging 14.5 points, 10 assists and three steals per game. Craig Talley, a 6’4 senior, was named to the All-City First Team, after averaging 12.2 points and 15.1 rebounds per game. Woods would go on to be a All-Met First Team selection the following year. Junior Rodney Coffield and senior Ken Missouri also added to the Poets attack. Notes; Talley played his final two years of college ball at Murray State, averaging 11.7 points and 5.5 rebounds as a junior, and 12.2 points as a senior.
26 ‘74 Dunbar (13-2) Coach William ‘Sugar’ Cain > MSA A undefeated*, City League undefeated*, #1 in the Sun – The ‘73-74 Poets were opening up a new era, one without legendary coach William ‘Sugar’ Cain, who had stepped down in March after coaching the Poets for thirty years. The Poets had just notched the biggest victory in Baltimore City high school basketball history, with its epic win over the nationally acclaimed DeMatha Stags. Archie Lewis, a Cain assistant, took over the program. Much was expected of the ‘73-74 Poets, as they returned their best two players from their ‘72-73, 19-0 team – Skip ‘Honeydip’ Wise and Larry Gibson. Wise had established himself as the best player in the city as a junior, while the 6’10 Gibson was quickly emerging as the best big man in the city entering his sophomore season. But, just as Cain had dealt with so much adversity over the years as the Poets mentor, despite all of the success on the hardwood, Coach Lewis would find the same fate in his first season in the ‘first chair’. First, Wise suffered a serious injury in the summer in an industrial accident, one that would require the superstar to lose more than half of his big toe. Then, in December, Gibson was stabbed at a church dance after trying to retrieve his coat that was stolen, requiring the sophomore to miss seven games. Then, in the first week of February, the Baltimore City teachers went on strike, eliminating the city league and MSA conference playoffs, and subsequently, their corresponding championship games. The Poets win streak stood at 47 games, dating back to a loss in ‘71 to Mt. St. Joe at Dunbar, culminating into a brawl, and in turn, the departure of the Catholic schools from the MSA. Before the strike, the Poets notched four top 10 wins – including a 101-84 win over #7 Edmondson, where the Poets shot 58% from the floor, and Wise poured in 34 points, and a 80-68 win over #8 City College, with Wise scoring 24 points, Petey Butler adding 22, and Gibson supplying 16 points and 19 rebounds. The Poets were 12-0 when the teachers went on strike on February 4th. By the time the teachers returned March 1, the playoffs had been cancelled. Still, the Poets were scheduled to play in the prestigious Knights of Columbus post-season tournament beginning on March 22, featuring the best schools in the DC area, and that appointment was granted by school officials. Then, 50 days after their last game on January 31, the Poets ran their win streak to 48 with a 63-53 opening round win over Wilson DC, with Gibson scoring 17 points and hauling in 18 rebounds.The Poets were ranked #2 in the country, behind Wilbur Cross CT, and ahead of #3 Eastern DC, who had also advanced to the K of C semifinals. Then, St. John’s DC snapped the Poets three year win streak, topping the Poets, 67-59. The long season ended with another loss to Malvern Prep PA in the consolation game. The 50 day layoff surely had an impact on the defending MSA A champions, and hopes for a ‘mythical’ national championship were extinguished. Despite the layoff, and despite their serious off-the-court injuries, both Wise and Gibson were named to the All-State First Team. Wise was named the Sun’s Player of the Year, after averaging 23 points, 9 rebounds, and five steals per game. Wise played in 50 games for the Poets over three years, and scored 1,100 points (22.0 ppg). Gibson averaged 15.4 points, 18 rebounds, and five blocked shots per game. Donnie Joy, a 6’3 senior, joined the 6’4 Wise and Gibson on the All-Met First Team. Butler, a 6’1 senior, was named to the All-Met Second Team, while Tyrone McKay was named to the Honorable Mention team. The All-American Wise would be selected to and play in the very first Capital Classic game ever played, playing alongside Moses Malone on the US All-Stars, finishing with 13 points in the 101-82. Notes; Wise would become the first freshman to ever be selected to the All-ACC First Team, after averaging 18.5 points per game for Clemson, who finished 17-11. Wise scored 30 points versus the eventual national champion, NC State, featuring David Thompson. Gibson would graduate from Dunbar a year later and was named a Parade All-American. The highly sought after Gibson chose Maryland, starting all four years for the Terrapins. Gibson finished his college career having scored 1,198 points, secured 895 rebounds, blocked over 200 shots, while shooting 55.1% from the floor. Gibson’s 895 rebounds put him second all-time on the Terrapins list, behind Len Elmore, when he finished. Elmore now ranks 7th all-time on the list, and third in rebounds per game (8.9) over his career (min. 3 seasons), behind Elmore and Buck Williams. Gibson was named to the All-ACC Tournament Team twice, and was named to the All-ACC Second Team as a senior, alongside Duke’s Gene Banks and North Carolina’s Mike O’Koren.
HS Sports Analyst
Willie, a native of Chicago, and now a resident of Columbia for 40 years, is an educator at Homewood Center in Howard County, after spending 12 years as a real estate agent, following 10 years of running a small men’s retail company. Willie has contributed to Max Preps, Digital Sports, and Varsity Sports Network. Willie has produced MPSSAA top 25 rankings for both football and basketball for 15 years, across various platforms. From a large ‘sports family’, Willie’s brother Mike led Reservoir High to the 3A basketball state title game in 2018, while his nephew Anthony serves as the Indianapolis Colts College Scouting Coordinator.