Walbrook was out to join some pretty select company yesterday with visions of upsetting Southern in a first-place showdown in the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference Division II.
Only four teams -- all ranked in the national top 10 -- have beaten the Bulldogs this season.
But it never happened for Walbrook, ranked No. 5 in The Baltimore Sun poll, even though the Warriors had No. 2 Southern on the ropes twice early in their matchup before losing, 63-52, at Southern.
Walbrook bolted to a 15-7 lead in the first quarter and got a big break midway through the second quarter when Southern's big man, Abdul Brown, collected his fourth foul.
Brown, 6 feet 8, sat out until there were 2 minutes, 30 seconds left in the game, but there would be other stars for the Bulldogs (13-4, 6-0).
Sophomore Kevin Simpson, 6 feet 5, wound up doing a large chunk of the damage for Southern, as he scored 17 points, had 14 rebounds and nine assists.
Simpson got help from senior Kwame Evans (16 points) and sophomore Damon Cason (14 points).
Cason scored seven of his 14 points in the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs wiped out a short-lived 45-43 Walbrook lead.
The Warriors (11-6, 5-1) gained a 45-43 advantage with 7:15 left on a three-point jumper by Anthony Terrell.
But Southern would score the next 11 points to take a 54-45 lead with 3:30 remaining to -- Walbrook's upset dream.
Walbrook lost its poise often in the final quarter, forcing shots and missing several key free throws.
In contrast, Southern played under control with Cason running the offense.
Walbrook coach Gus Herrington said: "We were close in the fourth quarter and our kids got a little eager. Southern did a great job on defense to create turnovers and bad shots. And our free-throw shooting was terrible."
Herrington said the highlight for Walbrook was the play of senior guard Antwan Wingo (11 points).
"Antwan played well early when we had the lead," said Harrington. "But all we can do now is win the rest of our league games and hope for a win over Southern when we get a shot at them at Walbrook."
Southern coach Meredith Smith complimented Simpson. "He has had a lot of good games for us this year even though he isn't one of our top two scorers for the season [Evans and Cason]."
Smith also praised Cason for his leadership and said "he makes good decisions out there. I think all our kids maintained their poise in the fourth quarter."
Smith, like Herrington, was upset with his team's free-throw shooting (20 of 38).
"Usually we shoot free throws well," said Smith, whose team continues to play in the shadows of Dunbar, the nation's top-ranked high school team.
"Other people compare us to Dunbar," said Smith. "But what we have to do is try to establish our own identity and do things our way. The rankings are out of our hands."