Dunbar of Balt more and St. Anthony's (N.J.), two nationally acclaimed teams, yesterday played their second intense, down-to-the-wire contest in two weeks when they met in the finals of the Gonzaga/D.C. Classic at American University's Bender Arena.

In the end of the defensive battle, Dunbar (9-1), despite converting seven of 17 fourth-period free throws, hung on to win, 60-54.

In the consolation game, Dunbar of the District drubbed Gonzaga, 96-38. Damon Singletary and James Marshall scored 16 points each for the Crimson Tide (6-2). Gonzaga dropped to 2-6.

St. Anthony's (3-1), ranked No. 2 by USA Today, and Dunbar of Baltimore (No. 12), played for the championship of the Skyline (N.J.) tournament two weeks ago, with the Friars winning, 65-64.

That defeat "hurt us to our heart," said Dunbar senior Terrence Alexander, who scored a game-high 21 points yesterday. "We wanted the chance to come back and play them again. We realized that we would have an opportunity at this tournament, so we came here today and remained focused and did our job and played good defense."

The Friars were led by Seton Hall-bound point guard Daniel Hurley (17 points, brother of Duke point guard Bobby) and 6-foot-7 junior Rodrick Rhodes. The duo presented the Poets their stiffest defensive challenges.

But the Poets had two flamboyant juniors to complement Alexander: Danta Bright (17 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks) worked hard in the post and Michael Lloyd (nine points) found his perimeter shooting touch after a slow start, enabling the Poets to hold off St. Anthony's after the Friars had closed to 54-52 with 42 seconds left.

Alexander made two free throws and, after forcing a turnover, Lloyd capped a fast break with a dunk that gave the Poets a 58-52 lead with 11 seconds left.

"We have an unshakable presence," said Alexander. "We just believe in each other and we play hard. We play a lot of unlimited ball, so a lot of the high school competition really doesn't shake us when it gets close."