Charm City crushes District in season tip-off mixer; No. 1 Poly overwhelms D.C. champ Wilson (VIDEO HERE!)


by Donald Daniels

Buoyed with a first preseason No. 1 ranking, Poly High boys basketball has lofty goals this season. The Engineers did not disappoint in their first test Saturday.

Poly handled Wilson (DC), 79-52, at the 23rd annual Baltimore/District of Columbia Classic at Forest Park. The Charm City regained bragging over their neighbors to the South for the first time since 2016, winning five of six matches.

No. 4 Lake Clifton defeated McKinley in boys action while No. 14 Patterson fell to Theodore Roosevelt. In the lone girls’ basketball contest No. 6 Western took down Wilson.

There were moments Saturday where Patterson and its new additions were coming together. Those moments, however, were few and far between, especially in the second half, for the defending Class 2A state champ Clippers.

Alex Ferrer had a game-high 22 points for Patterson, which had five different players scored. The Clippers led 39-38 at halftime after Jose Sabastro’s buzzer-beater.

But the Rough Raiders gained separation, starting the third quarter with an 18-4 run. Patterson never cut the Roosevelt lead to under nine, despite the efforts of Lizandry Nunez (11 points) and John Thomas (11 points) down stretch.

“We played okay in a few spots throughout the game, but we need to share the ball better moving forward,” Patterson coach Henry Martin said.

The Doves improved to 2-0 on the young season with a 61-29 rout. Ny’Cerea Porter had a game-high 18 points, Sanaya Gray had 12 and Gabby Johnson finished with 15 points.

Western blew the game open in the second quarter by outscoring the Tigers 22-3. The Cold Spring Lane school again reached the city title game last season, and advanced to the Class 4A state semifinals.

Tasha Townsend, who guided Western the past several seasons, is serving a year suspension for her actions during the Doves’ loss to eventual state champ Charles H. Flowers from Prince George’s County in the state semifinals at Towson University. Kenneth Robinson is serving as interim coach.

“We stress defense and let the girls know when we step out on the floor we have to play great defense and step out on the shooters,” Western coach Robinson said.

The Doves continue pouring it on in the third scoring 24 points. Half of those points came from beyond the arc, Western connected on four trifectas, including a Porter three to make it 58-23, which activated the running clock.

“Coach told us we had to lock down and play defense and we just went out there and did it,” Porter said.

Lake Clifton set the tone early, leading wire-to-wire in its 65-52 win over McKinley. Four different Lakers (1-0) scored in double figures with Dreshawn Hodges leading the way with a game-high 17 points.

Hodges sparked a 10-3 Laker run to start the second, giving last season’s 1A state champions a 28-14 lead. The lead ballooned to 18 midway in the third.

After losing twice to Wilson last season, Poly dominated the reigning District public champs, dropping 12 three-pointers. Marquette University-bound forward Justin Lewis poured in 12 and Rahim Ali and Kwame Evans Jr. each added 11 apiece.

Wilson, ranked seventh in the District region by the Washington Post, got 11 points from Jay Young III. Last season, the Tigers built an early lead before withstanding a late Engineer run in the tip-off. Poly was more consistent in the rematch, but fell at the DeMatha Catholic Holiday Tournament.

Saturday’s win is a confidence boost for the Engineers, who have another daunting non-league schedule.

“So far, so good,” Poly coach Sam Brand said. “It really looks like they are playing for each other which is fun to watch and fun to be apart of and fun to coach. Offensively and defensively I just love how our guys are willing to make a play for each other.”

Poly made their first three trifecta attempts en route to a 17-13 advantage. The defense picked up in the second quarter for the Engineers, forcing five turnovers which they turned into six fast break points. Evans, Lewis, Ali and Murray closed out the first half going on a 14-5 run.

“You got to have guys who can shoot and the second part is that you have to have guys who are willing to make a play for each other.” Brand said. “It seems to me that guys were willing to give up a decent look for a great look and the guys were making those shots.”

Leading 40-25, Ian Wallace started the Engineers with a three-pointer to begin to second half and Brandon Murray joined in with a corner three of his own. Evans was able to slash his way into the lane and hit a free throw jumper along with free throws from English, the Engineer lead grew to 23 points with three minutes left in the third quarter.

“There is a lot growing that needs to happen, but I very encouraged with what I see so far and the guys are already buying in,” Brand said.

BALTIMORE/DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BASKETBALL CLASSIC

AT FOREST PARK

BOYS

No. 1 Poly 79, Wilson (DC) 52

Wilson: Young 11, Carter 3, Brown 9, Buchanan Jr. 9, Morgan Jr. 8, Best 6, Delarosa 2, Petty 4. Totals: 20 5-21 52.

Poly: Lewis 13, Ali 11, Evans 11, Lindsay 9, English 8, Murray 10, Wallace 9, Jackson 4, Lamothe 4. Totals: 27 10-14 79.

Wilson 13 12 11 16 – 52

Poly 17 23 23 16 – 79

No. 4 Lake Clifton 65, McKinley (DC) 52

McKinley: Webster 4, Toure 12, Thornton 2, Shorter 2, Terrell 18, Grose 4, Johnson 4, Davis 2, Israel 2. Totals: 14. 17-22. 52.

Lake Clifton: Hodges 17, Morris 14, Blackwell 10, Gray 12, A. Davis 6, K. Davis 2, Martin 4. Totals: 22. 12-25. 65.

McKinley 11 5 14 22 – 52

Lake Clifton 18 12 14 21 – 65

Theodore Roosevelt 89, No. 14 Patterson 74

Roosevelt: Ware 11, Tremble 18, Evans 9, Gabriel 17, Roach 4, Blakey 9, Rajah 10, Lee-Kane 4, Johnson 6, Bullock 4. Totals: 33 17-28 89.

Patterson: Moore 4, Ferrer 22, Thomas 11, Williams 12, Sabastro 13, Nunez 11. Totals: 31 14-28 74.

Roosevelt 16 22 30 21 – 89

Patterson 17 22 20 15 – 74

GIRLS 

No. 7 Western 61, Wilson 29

Wilson: White 6, Houghton 7, Dias 4, Okechukwu 7, Dixon 4, Lewis 1. Totals: 10 8-14 29.

Western: Porter 18, Johnson 15, Henson 5, Gray 12, Urquhart 2, Jenkins 4, McMurray 5. Totals: 24 3-4 61.

Wilson 12 3 8 6 – 29

Western 15 22 24 0 – 61