The anticipated shootout between the usually high-scoring Velmar Coleman of Walbrook and Jamal Barney of host Southwestern fizzled last night, but junior Rodney Spruill stepped up for victorious Walbrook.
Spruill, whom coach Kelvin Bridges said "is a guard inside a 6-foot-4 body," had game highs of 20 points and nine rebounds in leading the No. 4-ranked Warriors to a 54-38 romp over the No. 3 Sabres.
"Don't let the big body fool you," said Bridges, whose team is 10-2 overall and 7-0 in Baltimore City league play. "He's really a guard ... and I have to tell him to get inside once in a while."
Coleman, who like Barney averages in the 20s, had seven points but contributed in other ways - six rebounds, four assists, two steals and superb defense. Meanwhile, his team outshot Southwestern, 40 percent (23-for-58) to 27 (14-for-51).
"We prepared well for them and I got involved in a lot of ways, " said the 6-4, Towson University-bound Coleman. "It was no Coleman-Barney matchup. It was Walbrook vs. Southwestern and Rodney Spruill stepped up for us."
Spruill credited Coleman and the rest of his teammates for his big game, saying, "We played hard, had more desire and played great defense on Barney."
Barney, who was coming off a 27-point effort in a 69-65 win over No. 8 Douglass on Tuesday that followed a combined 68 points in two games last weekend, had a rather quiet 17 points last night. His output dropped mainly because of the defense of Warriors junior guards Marc Davis and Wardell Young, who combined for 12 points.
"We had to play two, three guys on Barney, who is a prolific scorer, " said Bridges. "Marc and Wardell Young did a terrific job in holding him down and Velmar is a very unselfish player. We're developing into a team willing to make sacrifices."
After a 24-24 first half, Spruill led a big third period for the Warriors (10-2), who held the Sabres (11-2, 5-1) to one point while scoring 13 to take a 37-25 lead into the last eight minutes. Spruill scored eight of his 12 second-half points in the third period and grabbed four of his rebounds.
Barney scored the Sabres' only third-period point, making a shot from the free throw line with 22 seconds left in the quarter. The Southwestern junior missed four of the team's nine field-goal attempts in the period.
"There was a lot of hostility in here tonight, " said Barney, one of only three Sabres to score. Richard Myers had 15 points and Juawan Rheubottom six. Rheubottom also had a team-high seven rebounds.
"Everybody wanted to see the big matchup between our two teams," Barney added, "but we didn't have enough movement on offense. But don't worry, we'll be back and win the states at the end."