For seventh-ranked Walbrook, last night's game in the Function at the Junction Mixer at Coppin State was supposed to provide the ultimate test.
The Warriors were facing a Potomac team that not only had advanced to the Class 3A state finals the last two seasons, but also had the height to shut off Walbrook's inside game.
It took the Warriors awhile to make adjustments, but the ones they made propelled them to a 53-50 overtime win.
"They were bigger than us and they were blocking our shots, so we had to force them out of the zone," said Walbrook's Travone Broadway, who led his team with 13 points. "We attacked it, and things started to happen."
Trailing, 37-34 after three quarters, the Warriors (2-2) began to push the ball, running every chance they got.
The game was tied, 50-50, at the end of regulation. Then the Warriors' Marvin Matthews made the key play in overtime, making a steal and driving the length of the court for a layup and the winning basket with 1:40 left.
"I set him up for a backhand steal," said Matthews, who scored four points. "I've been working hard on my defense in practice, and it just paid off."
From there, Walbrook clamped down on defense, holding Potomac to 0-for-5 from the field and no points in the overtime.
For Warriors coach Gus Harrington, whose team has lost to top-ranked Dunbar and No. 3 Lake Clifton, the win was especially pleasing.
"That was a moral victory for us," said Harrington. "I'm really proud that they were able to finish it at the end."
Potomac, which lost on Thursday to Lake Clifton and last week to No. 5 Southwestern, was led by Street & Smith's preseason honorable-mention All-American William Peters, with a game-high 22 points.
Peters, a wide-bodied 6-foot-8 center, gave Walbrook fits all night in the paint, forcing the Warriors to shoot from outside.
"We had trouble early on," said Matthews. "Our coach told us we should push [the ball] since we were quicker, so we started running and broke their zone."
Tony Tyrell had nine points for Walbrook, and Anton Jenifer and Chris Reynolds added seven apiece.
Potomac lost in the Class 3A state final last year to Southern and in 1992 to Catonsville.
For Matthews, that made the win all the more significant.
"It's a really big win for us," said the junior. "This will get us a lot of respect. That was the biggest basket of the year for me."
That the Warriors held Potomac to a low scoring total boded well for a Walbrook victory. The team is usually at its best when holding opponents under 50 points.
"The way we were playing on defense, I thought we had a great chance of winning," said Broadway. "Usually when we keep a team under 50 points we feel we have a really good chance to win it."