Posted On: 02/10/18 7:32 AM

There’s no basketball quite like Baltimore City high school basketball. When two of the top teams face off like Poly and Dunbar did this evening, it calls for an intensified environment and an abundance of talent on the floor. The visiting Engineers went into Dunbar’s sold out gymnasium and took down the undefeated Poets by the final score of 65-61. Poly improves to 14-5 while Dunbar falls to 18-1 overall.

Justin Lewis shows up and shows out

Lewis is considered one of the top players in the 2020 class and tonight he proved why. The 6’8 sophomore carried Poly by scoring 36 points while pulling down 11 rebounds. He was a force on both ends of the floor and showcased his versatility scoring both inside the paint and beyond the three-point arc. Lewis seems to improve with each passing game, which will be pivotal in Poly’s chase for another Baltimore City title.

Malik McCormick can flat out shoot

This was the first time I got to see McCormick in action and he didn’t disappoint. The junior guard led the Poets with 20 points that included four triples. Whether it was a spot-up three off a kick out pass or him coming off of a screen and quickly getting one off, McCormick’s shot is very smooth. He has a knack of seeking out contact while in the air, forcing the refs to call a foul. He converted an and-one three and took a line for three shots on two separate occasions. McCormick is a player that must be accounted for every second of the game.

Jamal West provides early energy for Poets

West has been a main contributor for the Poets all season. In the first half of this match up, he scored nine of his 13 points on the night and was a big reason Dunbar built an early lead. His energy and intensity spread throughout the team and his ability to crash the offensive glass and finish helped swing momentum. Unfortunately for West and the Poets, he got into foul trouble that limited his minutes in the second half.

Contrasts in style

In the first half, Dunbar did a great job of keeping the game in the halfcourt and executing their offensive sets. Doing this made Poly play at a slower pace and even though they saw some success, they’re most effective when the game is more uptempo and transition opportunities present themselves. As the first half came to a close, Poly went on a 6-0 run, all of which came off of steals from their press. It seemed as if that was the turning point of this game. Coming out of the locker room from halftime, the Engineers kept the pushing the pace and were able to pull away at the end.

A preview of the Baltimore City championship?

Sealing the victory tonight means Poly will meet Dunbar in the Baltimore City Division I championship. Coming into the game, Dunbar had already claimed their slot in the championship. Poly needed to either win or have Lake Clifton lose. Now that the match up is set, judging off of this game, it’s almost guaranteed to be a treat. It’ll be interesting to see what changes both head coaches make to their game plans, and if any new players can step up and have an impact.