Dunbar Crimson Tide defeated the Banneker Bulldogs 61-49 in the DCIAA Championship title. (Abdullah Konte/The Washington Informer)

Turn Back Their Opponent, Banneker Senior High, in Championship Game

Kamari Campbell turned in a dominating performance to lead Dunbar Senior High School to its third straight DCIAA title, 61-49, over Banneker Senior High in the girls championship at Frank Williams Activity Center on the campus of Calvin Coolidge High School in Northwest.

The 6-foot-3-inch senior forward, who has been a member of Dunbar’s three championship teams, scored 12 points with eight coming in the second half . She also pulled in 17 bounds along with four blocked shots and four steals.

“To be able to contribute to this win with our players in foul trouble is pretty amazing,” said an exuberant Campbell, named as the game MVP. “It feels so good for me because I never would have guessed it coming into the game. Jailen has been our MVP all year.”

With regular season league MVP Jailen Hunter shackled with foul trouble for most of the game, the Dunbar Crimson Tide (17-5) still appeared to be in shape, bolting out to a 19-5 lead in the first stanza. But Banneker (15-5), playing in its first championship, found their rhythm and fought back, reducing the deficit to 30-22 at the half.

The Banneker Bulldogs (15-5) were able to get within four points, 45-41, at the end of the third quarter on the scoring of freshmen sensations Rhyan Baldwin and Naki Cobb, who combined for 32 points. But they would get no closer as Kamari hit on key shots with a balanced scoring effort from her teammates Emorean Thomas (19 points), Ala’jha Gamble (10 points) and Jailen (10 points, nine assists).

“We have been historically bad in first quarters all year,” said Banneker Head Coach Abby Sondak during a post-game interview. “Today it caught up with us. Rhyan and Naki never quit and I’m proud of the way they battled for the entire game.”

Dunbar Head Coach Shayla Williams said while the win was gratifying, she’s still not satisfied.

“We knew coming into the year that we would be here at the end but we have our sights on bigger goals,” she said.

Dunbar now awaits the pairings for the DC State Association playoffs which will start February 28.

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