Before the season, Walbrook's hopes of contending for first place in the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference Division I centered around Stevie Thomas and Jermaine Porter -- but there seems to be another factor from an unlikely source.
Enter Rodney Beasley.
The 6-foot junior guard, a transfer from Dunbar, scored 19 points, as the No. 6 Warriors (3-0) defeated host Towson Catholic (0-3), 83-55, yesterday.
Thomas also scored 19 and pulled down nine rebounds. Porter, in his role as sixth man, added 11 points, as did Eric Herbert.
Beasley, who decided to transfer to Walbrook late last summer, has averaged 14 points, giving the Warriors another scoring threat, along with Thomas, in the starting lineup.
According to coach Gus Harrington, however, he has provided something more.
"He has added leadership and experience to our team," Harrington said. "He's been in tough situations against good teams and players, and that's really important."
Beasley said: "There was no problem fitting in because we played together in summer leagues. It feels good to be looked upon as a leader. At Dunbar, I was a follower, so it wasn't about pressure."
In the first meeting between the schools last year, Towson Catholic upset the Warriors by using a ball-control game to negate Walbrook's up-tempo game.
The scenario was much the same in the opening period yesterday, with Walbrook leading only by 11-8 after a 3-for-14 start from the field. But the Warriors quickly picked up the tempo, outscoring the Owls, 23-16, to lead, 34-24, at the half. With the margin at 36-29, Walbrook pulled away, going on a 17-4 run to lead, 53-33. During the spree, Walbrook connected on eight of 11 from the field, as Thomas scored five and Beasley four.
Walbrook led, 57-37, after the third period on the strength of 10-for-16 shooting, outscoring Towson Catholic, 23-13.
"Last year, they controlled the game," Harrington said. "This time, we forced our up-tempo. But for us to be successful, we're going to have to play as a team."
"They gave us a good beating," Towson Catholic coach Mike Daniels said. "Stevie Thomas is a man on the inside, and Beasley gives them a lift. We're a young team and we're slowly progressing, but Walbrook is just well-rounded."
Greg Penn led Towson Catholic with 18 points, and Dana Marshall added 13.