With their Class 4A North Region opening-round boys basketball game postponed from Friday, Walbrook and Mervo both showed effects of inactivity through most of the first half yesterday.
In the second half, it was No. 9-ranked Walbrook that was able to shake off the rust first, posting a 77-66 home victory over the No. 19 Mustangs.
Tyrell Dunkley scored 18 points to lead five double-digit scorers for the Warriors (18-5). Senior center Marcus Harrison led all scorers with 20 points for Mervo (16-7) while guard Paul Frazier contributed 19.
The third-seeded Warriors move into the quarterfinal round where they will play Perry Hall tomorrow. Perry Hall defeated Parkville in another regional opening-round contest, 63-45.
The victory marked Walbrook's second over the Mustangs this season. The Warriors won at Mervo, 65-53, on Jan. 17 as the West Baltimore school got off to a 12-1 start and climbed to the area's No. 2 ranking.
The Warriors stumbled a bit the past several weeks. They suffered close losses to eventual city champion Dunbar and runner-up Southern-Baltimore before knocking off then-No. 3 Lake Clifton in the regular-season finale. Walbrook, which reached the regional semifinals last winter, thinks it's back in good form.
"We look at the whole season like a ball game," Walbrook coach Kelvin Bridges said. "We get off to an early run in a game, and the other team comes back with a run, then we finish strong down the stretch. We're looking at this [playoffs] as the finishing run, something we haven't done all year long."
Using full-court pressure, the Warriors expanded a 31-27 halftime lead to 54-35 after three periods. The Warriors led by as many 20 points in the final quarter.
Jamal Booker scored 16 points while Steve Woodard and Donte Draper each had 15. Junior guard Daevon Haskins was the other double-digit scorer for Walbrook with 10.
"We played poor. We had a mental letdown in the third quarter," said Mervo coach Daryl Wade, whose team committed 21 turnovers. "When we decided to play again, we were already out 15, 16 points. We weren't able to get the kids due to the weather. For them to come in here after two days off, we were mentally not prepared."
3A West boys
South Carroll 71, Wheaton 57: Marshall Strickland was held to 20 points, but his teammates more than picked up the scoring slack as the host Cavaliers (19-4) won their 11th straight game and advanced to the quarterfinals, where they will play host to Walter Johnson.
Bryan Lowry shot 5-for-5 from the field, including four three-pointers.
Josh Boone scored 18 points, had eight rebounds and blocked seven shots. Three of his baskets were dunks. He was 9-for-9 from the field.
2A South boys
Hammond 60, Mount Hebron 44: Datren Awkward scored 25 points, including five three-pointers, to help the Bears turn a close first-round game into a runaway late in the fourth quarter at Atholton.
4A East girls
Glen Burnie 59, Old Mill 44: The Gophers (11-12) won for the seventh time in their eight games by downing the host Patriots (7-16) in Millersville, and earned the right to challenge defending state champion and top-seeded Arundel in the second round of the regional.
2A South girls
Atholton 69, Howard 57: The Raiders (9-12) closed out the third quarter with an 11-2 run to take a 52-45 lead and never looked back in their victory at Howard (7-16). It was Atholton's first playoff victory since the 1996-97 season.
Atholton guard Chelsey Barrett didn't miss a free throw in 10 tries and finished with 10 points.