Dunbar Coach Gary Lampkins has stressed to his team the need to forge its own identity and not bask in the glow of last year's top-ranked City Title team. Edging No. 6 Eleanor Roosevelt, 52-51, in the Largo Tip-Off Classic last night was a good way to start.
"I told my team that they did not deserve [their preseason] number two ranking," said Lampkins, whose team is 3-2 and currently unranked. "Last year's team deserved that. We have to make our own identity; we have to do things on our own merit."
A total of five probable starters on the two teams did not play last night for various reasons. Dunbar's Paul Bailey and Ronald Williams were out because of shoulder injuries.
Eleanor Roosevelt senior Delonte Holland, a 6-foot-6 guard who has signed with Rhode Island, has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules, according to Coach Glenn Farello.
Raiders junior guard Edward Basden was ejected in the Raiders' season-opening win over DuVal Tuesday after receiving two technical fouls, and as a result, he was forced to sit out last night's game. Basden will play in today's game against Central.
Junior guard Delonte West, who led the Raiders in scoring during their fall league, won't be eligible to play until Tuesday's game against Bladensburg because he has not fulfilled the minimum number of practice days.
"We were missing 50 points of offense" due to the missing starters, Farello said. "But I told my guys afterwards that all I ask is for them to give 100 percent effort and 100 percent heart for 32 minutes, and they gave it to me."
Dunbar led by six at halftime, and after senior Dion Walker converted a four-point play--he was fouled as he made a three-point shot from the top of the key--the Crimson Tide led, 37-25. A steal and dunk by Steve Savoy gave Dunbar its biggest lead, 39-25, with 1 minute 10 seconds left in the third quarter.
But Roosevelt rallied in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Marshall Jackson made a three-point basket from the right side that pulled the Raiders within 49-48 with 1:55 left. Savoy's double-pump jump shot put Dunbar up by three, but Roosevelt senior Dami Oloruntoba tied the game when he made a layup, was fouled and converted the free throw.
Walker made 1 of 2 free throws with 1:09 remaining, and those turned out to be the winning points. Jackson missed two free throws with 39 seconds left; for the game, the Raiders made only 11 of 29 free throws (38 percent).
"It was good that we kept our momentum up," said Walker, who transfered from Ballou. "We can carry this into the next game."
Note: Fifth-ranked Newport School erased a seven-point halftime deficit to beat Coolidge, 68-57, in the evening's first game. Junior T.J. Thompson led the Tigers with 18 points.