Two years ago, Carroll Holmes was the assistant basketball coach when Archbishop Carroll upset highly regarded Calvert Hall of Towson, 73-63, in the semifinals of the Alhambra Tournament. After the loss, Calvert Hall won 38 consecutive games, 34 of the victories coming last season when the Cardinals were considered the best team in the nation.
Friday night, Carroll ended Calvert Hall's streak with an 83-77 victory in the semifinals of the Beltway Classic at the Towson Center. Holmes, now Carroll's head coach, wasn't surprised two years ago and he wasn't surprised Friday night.
"I said before the game we'd win if we did the things we were capable of," Holmes said. "You saw what happened. We have a young team but we certainly aren't in awe of anyone. If we play as well as we did the other night, we're capable of playing with Dunbar, too."
Dunbar of Baltimore, which wanted desperately to play Calvert Hall last year, warmed up after a slow start and brushed aside De Matha, 67-55, in the second game of the doubleheader. The victory stretched the Poets' winning streak to 32 games.
Holmes is hoping his team plays with the same intensity and desire today when Carroll (4-0) faces Dunbar of Baltimore (5-0) for thechampionship at 5 p.m. today at the Towson Center. De Matha (2-1) plays Calvert Hall (3-1) in the consolation game at 3.
Carroll, which scored 90 and 94 points in its first two games, simply ran past Calvert Hall in the opener. Carroll led most of the game but made several mistakes that allowed Calvert Hall to tie the game at 52 late in the third period.
But the Lions, playing with confidence throughout, regrouped. Mike Sampson and Fred Cunningham were the main scorers in the final period as the Lions took command.
Cunningham and Derrick Lewis were very effective inside, converting offensive rebounds and keeping the Cardinals off the boards. Cunningham had 26 points and 12 rebounds and Lewis had 14 points, seven rebounds and five blocks.
Holmes said 6-foot-6 Lewis will defend Dunbar's top player, 6-6 Reggie Williams, and Sampson will try to slow 5-3 Tyrone Bogues, a superb ball handler and passer.
De Matha played very well in the first period, keeping the taller Poets off the offensive board and making the open shots. The Stags made seven of 11 shots in the period.
But Dunbar's combination of quick-reacting zones and man-to-man pressure shut down the De Matha offense in the second half. Bogues and his teammates had no problem scoring either, opening up a big lead and coasting the rest of the way.