For decades the Dunbar Wildcats ruled Fort Worth boys basketball with the ferocity of a rim-rattling slam dunk.
But signs point to the end of the Dunbar dynasty. Its amazing streak of 36 straight playoff appearances is in jeopardy.
The Flying Wildcats are languishing in sixth place in the 10-team District 6-4A with a 3-5 record, 2 1/2 games out of fourth place. The top four teams qualify for the playoffs.
Already, Dunbar has dropped district games to Fort Worth foes O.D. Wyatt, Southwest, North Side, Trimble Tech and, most recently, an 85-64 drubbing by Arlington Heights on Tuesday.
A year ago, the Wildcats made the playoffs for the 36th straight time, but only as the fourth seed from their district, and they were dispatched in the opening round.
Things began to turn with the retirement of legendary coach Robert Hughes in 2005. Hughes walked away as the national all-time high school boys basketball coaching leader with 1,333 wins.
The coaching torch was passed to Robert Hughes, Jr., but dad left a legacy that the best of coaches wouldn’t want to follow.
It is still too early to rule Dunbar out. A factor working in its favor is 6-4A’s 18-game district schedule, meaning there is still time to right the ship with 10 games remaining. But the Wildcats can't afford many more losses.
Dunbar faces Fort Worth Eastern Hills, currently tied for third in 6-4A, in a 7:30 p.m. tipoff Friday at Billingsley Field House.