Dunbar High boys’ basketball team ended several seasons of frustration Tuesday evening, upending No. 8 Lake Clifton in a Baltimore City league Division I contest before a packed audience on Orleans Street.

Junior guard Evan Singletary scored 15 points for Dunbar, and Devonte Wallace added 14. Leron Fisher led all scorers with 18 points for Lake Clifton.

The defending Class 1A champ Poets (5-0 overall, 1-0 Division I) led by as many as 14 points in the second half before repelling a Laker charge early in the fourth quarter. It’s their first win over their longtime east Baltimore rival since a 50-39 decision in January, 2006.

“A lot of the kids, especially the seniors haven’t beaten Lake Clifton so this is big,” said Dunbar coach Diego Jones. “At that same time to get our first victory in division is just as huge.”

“Defense and payback,” said Dunbar guard Aaron Parham, who finished with 13 points. “It feels good.”

In a battle of guard-oriented squads, it was the Poets who denied Lake Clifton (4-1, 0-1 Division I) any consistent offensive rhythm. Leading 31-21, Dunbar extended the lead to 39-25 after a layup by Singletary off a Lake Clifton turnover.

The Lakers ended the quarter with a three-pointer by Fisher then he opened the fourth with two free throws for a 42-36 deficit. Lake Clifton had a chance to pull closer, but Dante Pretlow came up with a block. Pretlow found Wallace staked out in the corner and the 6-foot-5 swing connected on a three-pointer, advancing the lead to 45-36.

“I just took what the defense gave me,” said Wallace, who scored five points in the final period. “That’s what Coach Diego was telling me the whole game, just don’t focus on one thing.”

devante wallace, evan singletary, aaron parham Dunbar led 15-8 after the opening quarter before Lake Clifton closed to 23-19. The Poets closed the first half with an 8-2 run with Wallace hitting a pair of three-pointers. After a Lake Clifton turnover, Parham went in for a basket and 35-23 lead early in the third quarter.

“We wanted to contain their guards. We knew their guards wanted to penetrate a lot,” said Jones. “We wanted to wear them down and keep them in front of us.”

After winning the past four meetings including an overtime decision last year on the Poets’ court, Lake Clifton struggled nearly the entire game Tuesday. Lakers coach Herman Harried was frustrated by his squad’s effort.

“We played soft and scared,” said Harried, whose team has reached the city title game the past four seasons. “They forgot this was a rivalry game. We weren’t focused, got pushed around. We got bullied.”

The odds of a team establishing themselves atop of the city’s league Division I seems unlikely with seven Top 15 teams in residence. The Poets are excited about the possibilities with their losing streak to Lake Clifton in the past.

“We’re learning steadily,” said Jones, whose team next play at the Lions Club Mixer in Salisbury next week. “We don’t have any superstars or go-to man, we’re basically going into every game with the expectation of playing hard and seeing what happens.”