THREE IN A ROW:

Because it is unbeaten in Interhigh League nondivision and division play, two-time City champion Dunbar won its third straight league title and will play Metro Conference champion DeMatha March 3 for the City Title at Cole Field House.

DeMatha clinched its 27th conference title in 31 years by beating McNamara, 84-64, Friday.

The Interhigh switched to the East-West Division alignment this year to reduce the number of league games from 22 to 16 and allow more nonleague games. With that setup, the top four teams in each division would advance to the tournament with the champion going to the City Title game.

But league officials had second thoughts and felt the team with the best overall record should be champion. Thus Dunbar, which won all six of its cross-division games and is 9-0 in West Division play (it will play its final game at Wilson Wednesday), is champion. The tournament champion (or runner-up should Dunbar win the tournament) would represent the Interhigh in the consolation game March 3.

As expected, all league coaches were not happy with the late decision. "They can't just change things like that," said one coach, "I don't think that's right."

Dunbar Coach Mike McLeese, who has now won three league titles in his four years as head coach, couldn't have been more pleased.

"I don't think the tournament proves who the best team is," he said. "If you play a 16-game regular season and you beat everyone, that clearly shows which team is best. I think you put too much emphasis on a tournament. You could lose a couple of players for one game or have an off night and get eliminated. That would mean the regular season champion gets nothing."

The Coolidge girls (15-0) will close against Cardozo. Should Coolidge win, it would advance to the girls' City Title game against the Catholic League champion March 2 at Catholic University. Defending City Champion H.D. Woodson has a 14-1 record, its loss coming to Coolidge, 45-43.

OLD MILL GRIST:

Few folks expected Old Mill, which starts three sophomores and a junior, to come close to equaling the 1987-88 girls team that won the Maryland 4A title and a school-record 25 games. But after two relatively easy wins last week, Old Mill improved to 17-2 and started the comparison. Should the Patriots win one of their games remaining this week, they would sew up the top seed in Region IV.

"I knew we would have a good team but I am somewhat surprised we are 17-2 at this point," said Pat Chance, the only girls coach the 16-year-old Anne Arundel County school has had. "I can't make comparisons to that state title team yet because those players were seniors and this is a sophomore-dominated team."

Sophomore forward Stacy Himes is the team's top scorer (12.9) and leader in steals and assists.

"We don't have that dominant scorer," Chance said, "but we have that good balance."