High School Basketball

Paul Dunbar boys end 20-game skid against Bryan Station

Dunbar's Mike Smith (15) took a shot while Patrick Puckett (35) defended in the second quarter of the the Bryan Station at Dunbar boy's high school basketball game at Dunbar High School in Lexington, Ky., on Dec. 15, 2011. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff
Dunbar's Mike Smith (15) took a shot while Patrick Puckett (35) defended in the second quarter of the the Bryan Station at Dunbar boy's high school basketball game at Dunbar High School in Lexington, Ky., on Dec. 15, 2011. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff HERALD-LEADER

Mike Smith is new to the Paul Laurence Dunbar boys' basketball team, having transferred from Sayre this season.

So Smith had no idea why Dunbar's coaches were celebrating crazily after the Bulldogs held on to beat Bryan Station 56-52 Thursday night.

When the game ended, Dunbar assistant Stephon Harris, who used to be at Bryan Station, sprinted to the locker room, then quickly reemerged to slap hands with the players while shouting, "The streak is over, baby!"

Bulldogs head coach Justin Yeary looked as if he had just survived 32 minutes of hoops' torture.

Smith was unaware that the Defenders had beaten Dunbar 20 times in a row since 2004 before his 23 points helped to end the streak.

"Really?" Smith said when told about the Bulldogs' seven years of frustration against Bryan Station. "I guess it's about time we beat them."

Yeary was giddy even though his Bulldogs wasted a 13-point lead and played a chaotic final four minutes.

In the final 60 seconds alone, Bryan Station missed two free throws and three field-goal attempts that would've tied it. Smith finally sealed Dunbar's victory with two free throws with five-tenths of a second left.

"As ugly as that was, we found a way to win, and that's huge for us," Yeary said.

"Our guys weren't thrilled with the way we played that fourth quarter, but finding a way to win is what we've got to do to compete in the city."

William Gary helped carry the scoring load with Smith. Gary had 18 points and five rebounds.

Donnie Lewis came off the bench to hit three three-pointers for nine points, and 6-foot-6 Taylor King grabbed nine rebounds.

Dunbar scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to open a 48-35 lead, but the Bulldogs couldn't stand prosperity. Instead of taking their time and getting good shots, they played in overdrive and Bryan Station rallied to within 51-50.

After Smith's three-point play made it 54-50, the Defenders' Larry Morton hit a twisting layup in traffic, but he was called for charging. Instead of trying to complete a three-point play, the basket didn't count and Morton fouled out.

Bryan Station Coach Mike Allen said his team, which dropped to 0-6, "didn't catch a break," seemingly a reference to the call that went against Morton. "But our kids play hard and fight to the end.

"We've been so close. We'll get there. This isn't a sprint. It's a marathon."

Morton had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Defenders. Marcus Williams had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Marcellous Washington added 11 points.

BRYAN STATION (0-6) — Morton 16, Williams 16, Washington 11, Hipps 8, Puckett 1.

PAUL DUNBAR (5-1) — Gary 18, Smith 23, Lewis 9, Peasah 2, King 2, Blincoe 1, Haga 1.

Bryan Station 1 8 12 17—52

Paul Dunbar 11 11 19 15—56

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