Third-ranked Walbrook came from 11 points behind to defeat No. 7 Cardinal Gibbons, 60-57, yesterday in an opening Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference, Division II contest.
Senior forward Jermaine Porter led all scorers with 21 points and 10 rebounds for the visiting Warriors (5-1, 1-0). Guard Antwan Wingo added 16.
With the Warriors clinging to a 58-57 lead, Porter made the game's key defensive play, getting a hand on a pass intended for Chuckie Lee from Troy Queen, and was fouled. He converted both ends of the one-and-one free throws with 16 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Crusaders (3-3, 0-1) had a couple of chances to tie, but Broc Silberzahn missed a three-pointer. Lee got to the ball in the left corner and his attempt for three was blocked by Andre Rafus (five blocks), with three seconds left. Silberzahn's final attempt from the top of the line bounced off the rim.
"We just came out and played hard defense in the second half," said Porter, a 6-foot-7 forward. "We knew this one was going to be a tough game and had to respond."
Trailing 51-45, the Warriors scored 11 straight, as Porter scored five, helping them to gain the lead -- their second since they scored the game's opening basket -- with 4 minutes remaining.
Gibbons came right back with a layup by Lee, then worked the boards on its next possession for another basket and was fouled. He missed the free throw and the Crusaders turned the ball over.
A jumper by Wingo pushed Walbrook's lead to 58-55 with 1:04 left before Kevin Dukes' basket cut it to one with 33 seconds remaining.
"It was a great game to watch," said Cardinal Gibbons coach Ray Mullis. "Both teams played well. We had control of game, but they made a number of runs at us, then finally caught us."
Lee, a 6-foot-2 forward, led the Crusaders with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Damon Fleary added 10.
Gibbons was without its leading scorer, Quintin Moody, who was out with a bruised thigh. Moody, a 5-foot-10 guard averaging 19.5 points, was first hurt in the season opener against DeMatha. He was able to play in the team's next four games, but the injury worsened. Moody should be back for Friday's opening round game in the Bullis Prep Tournament in Potomac against Newport Prep.
Without him, Gibbons wasn't missing a beat, building a 35-27 halftime lead. The Warriors were plagued by foul troubles in the half as five players had two or more fouls.
Though in foul trouble, Walbrook stayed with its pressure defense, using traps to help begin to chip away at the Crusaders' lead.
Trailing, 38-27, the Warriors scored nine consecutive points, cutting the deficit to 38-36, getting second and third attempts at the basket, along with defense from Porter (two blocks) and Rafus.
Walbrook finally regained the lead at 43-42 on a steal and a layup by Sean Evans. Gibbons scored the next six for a 48-43 margin with 7:43 remaining.
"They did what they had to do," said Walbrook coach Gus Herrington. "I told them this game was going very important, coming back after that loss [Saturday's 66-58 loss to Philadelphia's Simon Gratz], and the energy we had used in that game. We got down, missed some shots, but we didn't die."