After nearly three years, No. 3 Walbrook played its first home game yesterday at the Walbrook Junction location, defeating No. 13 Milford Mill, 64-49.
The last game played on Walbrook's home court was on Feb. 16, 1988, as the Warriors ran past Edmondson, 105-82. Then Vice President George Bush was battling for the nomination of the Republican Party and the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, had just started.
None of the current Warriors had played on the court. But yesterday, they had no problems adapting to their "new" home, after playing their previous home games at the Community College of Baltimore.
"It's a mystique in here," said Walbrook coach Gus Herrington. "When they had to dig down, they got that burst of energy and Milford Mill looked like they went down a little."
The Warriors turned up their defensive pressure in the second half, holding the Millers (1-1) to 18 points and forcing 10 turnovers.
It did not help Milford Mill that 6-foot-7 sophomore center Norman Nolan was in foul trouble, allowing Walbrook even more freedom near the basket.
Nolan still scored a game-high 25 points, but 18 of those came before the intermission. He also had nine rebounds, lifting Milford to a 30-29 halftime lead, but he picked up his fourth personal foul with 1:13 left in the third quarter and Walbrook promptly stretched its 41-33 lead with a 12-3 run.
"What really got us going was attitude," said senior guard Antwan Wingo, a transfer from St. Frances. "Our minds were focused on winning and we played better together as a unit after the talk at halftime."
Tied at 19 after the first period, the Millers outscored Walbrook 9-2 using a halfcourt press. Nolan provided much of the offense as Milford forged to a 28-21 lead.
The Warriors rallied, however, scoring the final six points of the half on baskets by Shamar Bass, Sean Evans and Andre Rafus.
Nolan hit the first basket of the second half, but Milford did not score again until Ronald Coleman's three-pointer with only 45 seconds remaining in the period.
"I think we frustrated the heck out of them in the first half," said Milford Mill coach Homer Seidel. "They got a couple of quick baskets midway through the third quarter, and I had Norman on the bench. That didn't help, and they took the ball to the basket."
Walbrook began to pull away at the start of the final period, outscoring the Millers 17-7 to claim its largest lead of 60-43.
"Defense is what will win you championships," said Herrington. "We had to get a body on him [Nolan] and get more help from the weak side, and we did what we had to do."
Wingo led the Warriors with 16 points. Jermaine Porter added 15 points and nine rebounds and Travone Broadway had 10. Chianti Stansbury scored 11 for Milford Mill.
Eric Carroll, another St. Frances transfer, was suited up, but did not play for the Warriors. He was declared ineligible, pending the completion of two first-quarter classes.
Herrington said Carroll, a junior guard, has completed the courses and appealed the decision. He probably will see playing time during the Fort Eustis (Va.) Tournament over the Christmas holiday.