The Maryland A1-Stars, in the championship tournament final for the first time in four years of D.C. Urban Coalition summer basketball competition, shut down the Big "M" Trotters for the title yesterday at Gonzaga, 125-107.
The teams were relatively shy on "big-name" NBA and NCAA stars such as usually mark the Coalition tourney, and it was the lowest-scoring title game in memory - there were only two dunks to be counted in the whole 48 minutes.
All-Star 6-foot-6 forward Prince Frazier made sure the thousand or so fans did not have to sit through a dunkless game when he jammed home a left-handed windmill stuff hearly six minutes into the second half.
That first bit of excitement awakened the All-Stars, who had been engaged in a first-half tug of war with the Trotters.
The Stars, undoubtedly the most disciplined, unselfish team in the tournament, then began implementing the give-and-go, back-door and pick-and-roll plays that set them apart from most other summer league teams and enabled them to reach the final.
To get there they had to beat the De Matha Alumni squad led by Maryland's Albert King and Larry Spriggs (neither of them true De Matha alumni).
Attracting name players for summer league competition usually has not been difficult, with the Washington area producing a disproportionate number of NCAA and NBA stars. King and Spriggs and Maryland's Ernest Graham were among the few who played regularly.
In the three-round weekend playoff, crowd favorites Dennis Johnson and Gus Williams of the NBA champion Seattle SuperSonics, Len (Truck) Robinson, John Lucas, Roger Phegley and Tracy Jackson did not appear as programmed.
Robinson has a broken hand, but the absence of the others "is a mystery to me," said one Coalition official. The biggest celebrity in the house probably was welterweight boxing contender Sugar Ray Leonrd, who came primarily to watch childhood buddy John Duren of Georgetown play for the Trotters.
"I used to play a lot of basketball with John but I had to stop because he kind of outgrew me," said the 5-8 Leonard as he watched the 6-4 Duren lead all scorers with 28 points.
Duren's effort was not nearly enough to challenge the All-Stars, who were heavy underdogs going into the final because of their lack of readily recognizable personnel.
People like Andre Curry, with 24 points, and John Holloran, an assistant baskedball coach at George Washington, with 19, controlled the pace of the second half, allowing the All-Stars to set up their offense and outhustle the bigger but slower Trotters.
The All-Stars, who won a national amateur championship last year under Coach Tony Upson, took a 23-point lead and coasted to the title.