Walbrook senior Sheranda Palmer may have sacrificed one award for another. But she's not complaining.
Palmer scored 18 points -- 14 in the second half -- grabbed 13 rebounds and was named Most Valuable Player in leading No. 3 Walbrook (19-1) to a 50-30 victory over No. 5 St. Mary's in the Metro Classic yesterday at the Arena.
Palmer, who averages nine points and seven rebounds, is one of the Warriors' lesser-known players. In fact, she is Walbrook's nominee in the McCormick Unsung Hero awards banquet in May.
"She may have ruined that today," Walbrook coach Pete Connally said.
Palmer's 7-for-12 shooting performance from the field stood out in a game in which Walbrook shot 23.8 percent (19-for-80) and St. Mary's shot 13.6 percent (8-for-59).
And with St. Mary's (23-4) holding the Warriors' top three scorers -- Tina Fauntleroy, Lakeisha Dukes and Tabitha Chambers -- to six points each, Walbrook needed Palmer's strong effort.
"Sheranda has been my steadiest player all season," Connally said. "She'll dive on the floor after a ball if we're up by 60. She really deserves this."
Said Palmer: "Teams worry about our key players and forget about the others. But the others came through."
The victory was Walbrook's fourth in the Metro Classic. The Warriors and Western have combined to win nine of the 10 Classic games, which match the City-Wide champion and the Catholic League champion.
After the game, Connally proclaimed his team "the best in the state."
"It's a shame there isn't some way we can determine a real No. 1," said Connally, who was wearing a tie dotted with a "#1" design. "I'd like to see it decided on the court, rather than by the press."
St. Mary's, making its first appearance in the Metro Classic, took a 15-12 lead after one quarter, but converted none of 14 shots in the second quarter and never recovered as Walbrook took a 22-19 halftime lead.
Led by Palmer, who scored 10 on 4-for-5 shooting from the field in the third quarter, Walbrook extended its lead to 36-25 entering the final period.
St. Mary's had to play much of the game without guard Randall Goldsborough, the team's leading scorer. Goldsborough, who had been averaging 15.5 points, got into early foul trouble and finished with just three points.
"The main reason we were here was for the experience," said Goldsborough, a four-year starter. "I hope our team learned a lot from this experience. I'm sure St. Mary's will be back next year."