Aquille Carr was the main attraction, even at Dunbar’s gymnasium last Friday.
Fans from both Dunbar and Patterson were lined outside in the cold hoping to get inside to watch the Clippers’ star junior point guard play against Baltimore’s most storied basketball program. But with the gym filled to capacity, many fans, even those who had already purchased tickets, were unable to see the two teams square off.And though Carr entered the game as the one to see, it was Dunbar point guard Donte Pretlow who stole the show.
Pretlow led the Poets to a 64-55 win on their home court, scoring a couple of huge baskets down the stretch to thwart Patterson’s attempts at a comeback. Pretlow finished with a team-high 14 points, which helped allow Dunbar to jump former Baltimore No. 1-ranked Patterson (according to The Baltimore Sun) for the top spot in the city this week.
“I was trying to spread the floor because you know they can play defense,” Pretlow said. “And I was able to make some shots.”
Pretlow scored five of Dunbar’s last seven points to keep the game out of reach for the Clippers. Up 57-51 at the 2:30 mark in the fourth quarter, Pretlow drove and scored to put the Poets up 59-51. Patterson forward Shakir Brown answered with a bucket to cut the lead to 59-53, only for Pretlow to score another two points on Dunbar’s ensuing possession.
In addition, Pretlow was up to the challenge as the primary defender on Carr when Dunbar was in a man-to-man defense. He also picked up Carr at the top of the key in Dunbar’s 3-2 zone that Patterson had trouble penetrating.
Carr, who scored a game-high 20 points, was held to only one point in the fourth quarter.
“That was the game plan,” Pretlow said. “The refs like to give him a lot for the cause but our goal was to keep him away from the basket and not foul, make him take shots he didn’t want to take.”
Dunbar coach Diego Jones was surprised to learn Carr was held to only one point in the game’s final period.“That’s all he had? Honestly I didn’t even know that,” Jones said. “We just tried to play the best defense we could. We knew he was going to be the one that was going to try to dictate the tempo, making plays for their team. We wanted to concentrate on him while making sure we knew where everyone else was.”
Pretlow managed the game well as Dunbar’s point man, dishing the ball to get the rest of his team involved. Five Dunbar players scored in double figures (Pretlow, 14; guard Rod Harrison, 13; forward Aaron Parham, 12; forward Evan Singletary, 12; guard Gavin Pettiford, 11.)
Pretlow hasn’t had the notoriety of a player like Carr throughout his high school career. Pretlow played junior varsity as a freshman and played both JV and varsity as a sophomore, before joining the varsity full time last year. So far in his senior season, Jones said Pretlow has come into his own as a true point guard at a school known through the decades for its guard play.
“I’ve always tried to groom him,” Jones said. “He’s getting there. He still doesn’t have it all yet, but for the most part he’s got it. You want a veteran point guard on your team.”
Patterson coach Harry Martin said the Clippers didn’t deserve to win with the way it played on Friday.
“We just didn’t play as well as a team,” Martin said. “We were never in sync the whole game. We have to give them credit for outcoaching us, outplaying us. I’m surprised throughout the whole game we didn’t make a run.”
Last Tuesday, Carr announced his commitment to Seton Hall to play college basketball before the Clippers defeated Digital Harbor 85-77. Since then Patterson has stumbled on a bit of a rough patch.
After falling to Dunbar on Friday, the Clippers lost to St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) 89-63 on Saturday. On Monday, Patterson lost to MaxPreps.com’s sixth-ranked team in the country Gonzaga (D.C.) 75-73. The Clippers lost on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Gonzaga forward Kris Jenkins.
by Jason Butt