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The incident did little to dampen the spirits of players on both sides of the Acela Club room that sits high above the Washington Wizards basketball court, a classy setting for the luncheon that precedes the title game. While most of the talk surrounded the 40-plus-year Turkey Bowl tradition and character-building among young athletes, a boisterous Dunbar team made it clear they are the champs until someone knocks them off their pedestal.

“We’re not satisfied just being here,” Dunbar player Carlos Atkinson said from the podium. “In order for you to be the champs, you must beat the champs.”