Dunbar could do just about anything it wanted against Washington in Friday's Class 1A state semifinal.
The Poets had a large advantage in size, speed and strength. In other words, they were just too much.
The Jaguars, from Somerset County, scored the game's first basket, but the rest of the evening belonged to No. 1 Dunbar. The Poets needed only four minutes to increase their lead to 10 points, and they didn't have much trouble in a 70-41 victory over Washington at the University of Maryland's
Dunbar (25-2) will meet No. 9 New Town in Saturday's Class 1A state title game at 1 p.m. at Comcast Center in a rematch of last year's championship. A victory would give the Poets, who have won 10 straight games, their fourth straight state championship and 15th overall, which would set a record.
Dunbar dominated the game on defense, limiting the Jaguars (19-6) to three baskets from the floor in the first half. The Poets led, 32-16, at halftime.
"That was the key," Dunbar coach Cyrus Jones Sr. said. "We wanted to try to play off of our defense. I know what we were capable of doing."
Dunbar outrebounded Washington, 43-33, in the game, and the Jaguars committed 20 turnovers. The Poets had 10 steals and seven blocks, and they held Washington to only two assists.
With the big lead throughout the game, Dunbar used 12 players — and 10 scored.
Only leading scorer Kamau Stokes, who had 17 points, played more than 19 minutes for the Poets.
Dunbar's Trevis Buchanon (15 points, nine rebounds) and Brendon Smith (three points, six rebounds, three blocks), a pair of 6-foot-7 center-forwards, had little trouble dominating in the paint.
"We had the size advantage today," said Dunbar guard Daxter Miles, who is 6 feet 3. "Coach told us to feed the big men, and [we did]."
Buchanon made a number of good plays on defense that stopped Washington, sparked fast breaks for Dunbar and allowed the Poets to show their speed. The Jaguars couldn't keep up.
"When you're playing for Dunbar, it's more of your defense creates your offense," Buchanon said. "That's the way we score."
Washington went just 3-for-15 from the field in the first half and didn't score a basket from the floor in the second quarter. The Jaguars fared better in the second half, scoring 25 points after the game was out of hand, but they didn't help their cause at the free-throw line, finishing just 14-for-26.
"We came up against a great team today, outplayed us a little bit," Washington coach Nick Purnell said. "They're very athletic. They're very quick."
Dunbar 70, Washington 41
(at Comcast Center)
W- J. Jones 4, Cottman 6, Ballard 2, M. Jones 13, Trower 12, Oliver 2, McCready 2. Totals: 12 14-26 41.