In their respective cities, they are the prized teams.
But for the second time in two weeks, Dunbar of Baltimore proved to be the premier boys basketball power, surviving a brief second-half rally by Dunbar of the District to advance to the final of the Gonzaga/ D.C. Classic with a 75-63 victory last night at American University's Bender Arena.
Dunbar of Baltimore (8-1) will play St. Anthony's (N.J.), which is ranked No. 2 nationally by USA Today, at 4 p.m. for the championship.
St. Anthony's was a 65-43 winner over Gonzaga in the other semifinal as Woodrow Williams scored 15 points. The Crimson Tide (5-2) will play Gonzaga (2-5) in the consolation game at 2.
In the losers' bracket game yesterday, Ted Naylor scored a game-high 30 points and Jason McKinney added 24, as McQuaid (N.Y.) raced past St. Anne's of Charlottesville, 75-62.
Two weeks ago there was a lot of pregame hype before the showdown between the two Dunbars in the Kenner Tip-Off Tournament at Georgetown's McDonough Arena. But the Poets, playing with much of the same poise as they displayed last night, broke away from a four-point halftime advantage to trounce the Crimson Tide, 84-68.
The outcome did not figure to change much in such a short period of time, though the Crimson Tide was aggressive in the second half with 6-foot-6 James Marshall (11 points) blocking shots and Johnny Rhodes (26 points) connecting on feathery perimeter jumpers.
But the Poets had four players who were difficult to defend: sophomore Keith Booth (16 points); juniors Michael Lloyd (21 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals) and Donta Bright (12 points, 16 rebounds) and senior Terrence Alexander (16 points).
"They played extremely well and they have some veteran guys and they hit the big shots when they had to," said Crimson Tide Coach Mike McLeese. "But we played hard and that's what I was impressed with. We got after it. They are the No. 12-ranked team in the country and we're No. 20, so we'll see them again."
Last night, after falling behind by 13 points, Dunbar of Washington seemed to have captured the momentum after Shewn Winfree scored off a follow shot with 5:42 remaining to tie at 53, culminating a 20-7 Crimson Tide spurt.
As the teams exhanged baskets on successive trips down court, however, it was evident that the Poets could handle the pressure of playing prime time basketball, outscoring the Crimson Tide 10-3 the next two minutes to take a 67-58 lead with 1:21 remaining.