No. 2 Poly and Dunbar fall in hoops mixer; No. 9 Lake Clifton rolls

Dunbar’s Daesean Jones (left) looks to drive past Theodore Roosevelt’s Darius Buchanan during Saturday’s Baltimore/Washington basketball Classic. The No. 11 Poets dropped a 67-64 decision to the host Rough Riders as Baltimore dropped three of four boys contests Saturday.

by Derek Toney

Poly High boys’ basketball team was relatively loose for its game Saturday with Wilson (DC) in the Baltimore/Washington Classic. Some players rapped lyrics during the one hour plus bus ride to northwest side of the nation’s capital.

The ride back to Baltimore was much quieter. The second-ranked Engineers dropped a 70-56 decision in the final match of the annual mixer.

The District has bragging rights for the second straight season, claiming four of six matches. No. 9 Lake Clifton boys won Saturday and No. 5 Poly girls were victorious Friday evening. Baltimore dropped three of four matches Saturday as Dunbar and National Academy Foundation fell.

McKinley defeated last year’s city league Division II champ Eagles, 61-45. Daniel Allen scored 15 points for McKinley, and Tervondre Williams added 14.

McKinley led 25-18 at halftime. Byron Easter finished with a game-best 15 points for NAF.

Theodore Roosevelt itched away in the closing moments for a 67-64 victory over No. 11 Dunbar. Mickco Reeves had a game-high 22 points for Roosevelt, and junior Amadi Lee-Kane added 11

The Poets (1-1) evened the match at 59 after a baseline drive score from Malik McCormick with 1 minute, 34 seconds left in regulation. Darius Buchanan regained the lead on a basket with 1:21 to play, and added a free throw with a minute left.

Damel Edwards converted a basket and was fouled with 48.3 seconds, but missed the free throw. Reeves, who scored 11 points in the final frame, dropped a short baseline jumper with 28.9 seconds to play. The Poets lost the ball out of bounds with 13.8 seconds remaining, and Jibril Muhammad made 3 of 4 free throws.

“We had our opportunities, but we didn’t execute offensively or defensively,” said Dunbar coach Diego Jones, who has one starter back from last season’s Class 1A state championship squad. “When you don’t play defense and give up layup after layup and commit silly fouls to put a team in bonus, it’ll hurt. Tonight was a classic example.”

Michael Gray and Armon Harried did the heavy lifting as Lake Clifton handled Dunbar (DC), 71-50. Gray, a junior guard, finished with 24, and Harried added 23.

The Lakers (2-0) led 39-24 at halftime. Tyrek Simmons finished with nine points for Dunbar.

In girls action Friday, Poly routed Anacostia, 53-14. Rice had 12 points for the Engineers, who had 11 players record at least a point.

An early 3-point barrage helped Dunbar (DC) to a 46-36 victory over Forest Park. Zyaire Hairston had 16 points for the Crimson Tide, and Cameron Wilkes chipped in 11.

Dunbar dropped five trifectas in the opening quarter, establishing a 17-7 advantage and 22-9 at intermission. Na’kiyah Johnson had 15 points for Forest Park, the four-time reigning Division II city league champions.

It was a bad end to a not-so great opening week for defending boys Division I city champ Poly, which couldn’t dig out of a 15-point halftime hole against reigning District champ Wilson. Dimingus Stevens had 15 points for Wilson.

The Engineers (0-1), playing their first game of the season after forfeiting its season-opening match to Digital Harbor Wednesday for having an illegal practice during the summer, trailed 32-17 against a long Wilson squad, featuring University of Maryland commits Makhi and Makhel Mitchell. The 6-foot-9 twin brothers combined for 24 points.

Wilson’s Makhel Mitchell snags a rebound over Poly’s Amani Walker during the showcase match of the Baltimore/Washington Classic. Mitchell, an University of Maryland commit, finished with 13 points as the reigning District league champs opened up a 15-point first half lead en route to a 70-56 victory over the second-ranked and defending Baltimore City Division I champ Engineers.

“That’s a real tough opponent to come out against,” said Poly coach Sam Brand. “No energy at the beginning of the game. Real stagnant against the zone. We’ll be better.”

Down by as many as 18 points, Poly climbed to within nine in the fourth quarter, thanks to Ian Wallace’s 3-point shooting. The Cold Spring Lane school got no closer as Jay Heath, a Boston College commit, scored eight of his 13 points down the stretch for Wilson, ranked No. 3 in the District region by the Washington Post.

Brand found solace with team’s tenacity in the second half.

“I was really proud of the effort, but we can’t come out flat like that against a team like that,” said Brand. “We’ve had games at the beginning of the season where we come out on fire, but I hope in a few weeks we’re executing at a better rate than we did tonight.”

“We got to come out with more intensity,” said Engineers junior guard Rahim Ali. “We picked it up too late.”