Second-ranked Dunbar had a rather easy time beating back 19th-ranked Eastern, 57-49, but fourth-ranked Spingarn went the heart-attack route to edge fifth-ranked McKinley, 59-58, in the semifinal of the Interhigh basketball tournament yesterday at H. D. Woodson.

Dunbar (24-1) will play Spingarn (22-3) for the tournament title today at Georgetown at 3 p.m.

McKinley (20-4) plays Eastern (15-8) in the consolation game at 1.

McKinley had only itself to blame for yesterday's disheartening defeat. The Trainers looked unbeatable in the early going, hitting 11 of their first 14 shots.

But Coach Walter Kennedy started sending in reserves and the Green Wave, sparked by the awesome inside play of 6-foot-8 center Bryant Johnson, got back in the game.

Johnson, who finished with 23 points, 23 rebounds and six blocked shots, dropped in seven points in the second period to bring Spingarn close at the half, 34-28.

Ed Swails (19 points) and Ronald Curtis (13) managed to keep McKinley slightly ahead until the spirited Johnson converted a layup to give Spingarn its first lead of the game, 57-56, with 2:07 to play.

Tyrome Snead's basket temporarily regained the advantage for McKinley 30 seconds later. Spingarn's Chris Perry blew the front end of a one-and-one situation and McKinley went into a four-corner stall.

The Trainers ran the clock down to 41 seconds before Swails drew a charge attempting to drive the lane.

Mike Mitchell then scored his only basket to push Spingarn in front, 59-58, with 28 seconds left at which time Kennedy ordered his team to play for a winning shot.

The Trainers appeared to have no set play and Cedric Sullivan finally threw up an off-balance 20-footer that banged off the rim with three seconds left. The Duane Griffin came down with the rebound and the Green Wave had another chance to play Dunbar.

The victory also earned Spingarn, a 39-35 loser to the Crimson Tide earlier this year, a berth against the Metro Conference runner-up in the preliminary to the DeMatha-Dunbar city championship clash next Sunday at Cole Field House.

Dunbar took advantage of poor shooting by Eastern (20 of 62) to snap a 12-12 first-period deadlock and forge ahead to stay.

Joe Holston dropped in six points in each of the second and third periods to send the Crimson Tide out to a 42-35 lead.

Only a valiant effort by Rodney Winston -- 22 points, nine rebounds and three steals -- presented Eastern from being embarrassed in the early going.

Despite getting only a total of 10 points from its starting backcourt of Tony Riley and Mike Martin, the pesky Ramblers did threaten once in the final quarter.

A long Tony Peters basket closed the gap to 44-41 with six minutes left in the game.

But five different Dunbar players outscored Eastern, 13-2, over the ensuing five minutes and that was that.