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Big plays by Robinson, Chase upset Gonzaga

By ANTHONY EDWARDS

Staff Writer

Bernard Robinson’s acrobatic layup with 31.4 seconds remaining may have sealed the deal for the Crimson Tide, but 5-foot-10 senior point guard Brian Chase’s late-game deliveries were just as important as Dunbar shocked No. 1 Gonzaga in the finals of the boys City Title championship game, 45-43.

Perhaps starting a new tradition with the advancement of all District-located schools (boys and girls) to the championship round, Dunbar renewed their tradition of being the best team in the area. This was their third championship of the ‘90s, and their first since 1993. It was probably their most hard fought as well, as Gonzaga was heavily favored to win its first title in school history.

The Purple Eagles looked to do just that in the early goings. The Eagles took a 14-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, although both teams came out a little tight. With the atmosphere of a championship game this would be understandable, but the "cold" start from both teams may also be attributed to the frigid air the MCI Center thermostats were set on because of the hockey game being played later on in the afternoon.

Things soon heated up with Gonzaga guard William Glading hitting a couple of outside shots to excite the Gonzaga faithful. After a deep three pointer, an Eagle fan exclaimed, "He’s shooting the lights out!" For someone to have Glading’s range, it’s not hard to believe that he has a scholarship to Virginia Tech next year. It is, however, hard to believe that the scholarship is for lacrosse.

During the second quarter Dunbar began to get some surprisingly good inside play from their undersized front court. Gonzaga’s Thomas McCloskey and Patrick Mitchell seemed to tower over their opponents at times, but Robinson and Sherad Clark found a way to get key rebounds and put backs to shrink the lead to one with 5:29 to play in the half.

"We knew they were much bigger than us up front, but I felt we were quicker and that helped us get to some balls faster than them... they played pretty big," said Dunbar Coach Gary Lampkins, who won his first championship at the school. "That quickness also helped out our interior passing."

That inside play and interior passing soon opened up the jump shooters for the Crimson Tide. Chase and Bryant Hunt both hit big shots during a big run to give Dunbar a 27-22 lead at halftime.

During the third quarter, Gonzaga finally began to get their big men involved, which enabled them to exploit the lack of size in the middle on the other side. Gonzaga led 29-27 with 5:16 left in the quarter, but a jumper by Troyce Hainsworth gave Dunbar the lead back for the remainder of the period.

With the score 34-33 at the beginning of the final quarter, Gonzaga looked to play with urgency as they went on a run and took a 40-36 lead midway through the last session. After this both teams’ play began to resemble first-period action with a lot of sloppy action taking place. After a mishandled Gonzaga pass, Brian Chase demanded the ball, and told his team to set the offense. Chase then came down and ran his favorite play, "23," and got the ball inside. After Gonzaga’s twin towers collapsed on Robinson, he kicked the ball out to Chase who launched and hit a three pointer from the NBA stripe to give Dunbar a one-point lead at 41-40.

"I’m the leader, and I felt I had to get everyone to calm down on that possession, but when the ball came back to me, I knew I had to make that shot... and I did," he said.

Gonzaga soon took the lead back on a lay-up by McClowsky, but Chase brought the ball down and passed it to Robinson who hit a sweeping bank shot while he was fouled to give Dunbar the lead for good at 44-43. The Crimson Tide then added a couple of free throws and although Gonzaga had one last chance, they could not finish near the basket.

Gonzaga’s coach had nothing but praise for Robinson, who finished as the player of the game for Dunbar. "That was a heck of a move... It was against the whole side of the zone, and he got fouled."

Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator