Rodney Spruill wasn't a member of Walbrook's varsity team two years ago, but the 6-foot-3 junior swingman has heard the horror stories.
Referring to a season in which Walbrook suffered five of its eight losses in the final two minutes and three others in overtime, Spruill said, "I know they were a good team that played with heart, but they were always falling apart at the end."
Those memories became all too fresh for Spruill and his No. 2-ranked teammates yesterday as visiting, eighth-ranked, defending Class 3A state champion Douglass outscored the home team nearly 2-to-1 in the fourth quarter before Walbrook could claim its seventh straight win, producing a 68-63 Baltimore City League victory.
Spruill scored 25 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked two shots for Walbrook (15-2, 9-0), which got 13 points each from Ed Tyson and Velmar Coleman in building as much as a 15-point lead entering the fourth quarter.
But that's when the Ducks (9-6, 5-3) came alive behind Davon Gardner (20 points) and Troy Smith (16 points). Gardner scored 11 points in the final quarter, and Smith added seven points in the period.
Tyrone Flemming (10 points) and Antione Smithson (12) also contributed for the Ducks, with Smithson following a layup by Gardner with a pair of free throws that made it 66-63 with 5.2 seconds to play. Smith was 6-for-7 from the free-throw line.
"We want to keep our streak going and show that we can finish strong so we don't experience anything like that again," Spruill said. "That's why this game was so important."