No. 20 Dunbar dominates Southwestern in Booth’s debut; Charles scores 20 (VIDEO HERE!)

Dunbar basketball coach Keith Booth talks to his team before Thursday’s season opener with Southwestern. The 20th-ranked Poets won Booth’s debut as coach with an 89-28 decision on Coach Wade Court in East Baltimore.

by Derek Toney

Sporting a black suit with a white shirt and no tie, Keith Booth walked onto Dunbar High’s basketball court Thursday for the first time in the regular season as Poet coach. He shook hands with several well wishers before picking up the board his junior varsity coach, former Dunbar star and teammate Donta Bright, left on the bench.

“Did he draw up any plays,” joked Booth.

The Poet junior varsity had an easy go of it, routing Southwestern. The varsity followed suit, winning Booth’s debut, 89-28, on Bob Wade Court in East Baltimore.

Davion Charles scored 20 points for the 20th-ranked Poets (1-0 overall), and Rynell Bert and Jawaun Gibson each finished with 13. Dunbar scored the first 10 points, and led 52-18 at halftime.

Booth, who helped Dunbar to the mythical national title in 1992 before going to the University of Maryland where he was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference performer and an All-American, was hired in May to replace his former Poet teammate Cyrus Jones. Jones led Dunbar for 12 seasons, winning five state championship and two city titles.

Booth, who coached at the University of Maryland under Gary Williams and was an assistant for Loyola University’s men and women squads, is tasked with bringing the Orleans Street school back to prominence. It will take time with a young roster, but Booth will challenge his new squad.

The Poets will play in the DeMatha Christmas Tournament, and have non-league road matches at Gilman School and Annapolis. Dunbar plays at Gilman Saturday.

No. 20 Dunbar 89, Southwestern 28

Southwestern – Humphries 5, Thompson 6, Taylor 8, Smooth 4, Jordan 5. Totals 12 3-8 27.

Dunbar – Charles 20, Jones 7, Pullen 9, Newsome 9, Gross 1, Bert 13, Gibson 13, Grimes 9, Stevenson 5, McCollum 2, Tony 5. Totals 33 23-37 89.

Southwestern 8 10 6 3 – 27

Dunbar 27 25 19 18 – 89