With the temperature running an unseasonable 75 degrees late into the evening, paired with an even higher humidity level, some felt the basketball gym resembled a sauna more than a sporting venue.
The heat and humidity combined resulted in less-than-ideal floor conditions, and the controls for the school’s heating and cooling were off-site at the county office.
Following a handful of player wipeouts, the referees made the executive decision to call the game off only 10 minutes into the first quarter, due to condensation making the floor slick.
“Who would have expected it to be 75 degrees in December? They’ve got the heat on here, and the floor is just wet. We had three or four guys wipe out, so I think the referee made the right choice because it’s not worth somebody getting hurt,” Mustangs head coach Bob Williams explained.
When the game is rescheduled, the Mustangs will start off trailing the Owls 16-8, with 2:23 remaining in the first quarter.
While the conditions in the Ooltewah gym were poor to start off the evening’s games, the Lady Mustangs (5-1) and the Lady Owls (1-5) were able to battle it out on the court.
Although Walker Valley head coach Jessica Stone was less than pleased with the lack of intensity her team came out with, the Lady Mustangs were still able to get their fifth win of the season, topping Ooltewah 50-36.
“Right now we’re just trying to be consistent, which I don’t feel that we were tonight. I’m going to preach consistency all year long,” Stone stated. Tonight we didn’t have intensity or much energy, but coming out two days after an emotional win over Bradley I told the girls it’s hard to come back and it’s hard to play with the same intensity.”
After 6-foot sophomore Emily Spann won the Lady Mustangs the tipoff, Kat Alomar was immediately able to drive the ball to the net for the first basket of the game.
Fourteen points later, Walker Valley ended the first quarter up 16-10 over Ooltewah.
The second quarter was a sluggish one for both sides, as the Lady Mustangs added only seven points to the board and the Lady Owls managed only five.
Walker Valley amped things up in the second half, with Jaclyn Griffith, Victoria Jones, Lyndsey Macon and Alomar netting a team total of 18 points in the third quarter.
“We were slow out of the gates, but I thought we played much better in the second half,” Stone said. “I liked the intensity and the energy in the second half, where the first half was just sluggish.”
While the Lady Owls outscored the Lady Mustangs 14-9 in the fourth quarter, the late surge wasn’t enough to upset the comfortable lead that the girls in “Navy-and-Gold” had built up.
“They are playing with confidence, understand their roles and they already understand what I expect from them,” Stone commented.
Griffith led the Lady Mustangs with 14 points, which included one 3-pointer, while Alomar finished the game with 10 points and a trey of her own.
Walker Valley was 13-for-21 at the free-throw line Thursday evening.
Ooltewah’s India Corley banked five 3-pointers in the game and finished with 19 points.
Both Walker Valley teams will be back in action on Dec. 10 when the Tribe from McMinn County make the trek down to “The Stable” for more District 5-AAA basketball action.
Walker Valley 16 7 18 9 — 50
Ooltewah 10 5 7 14 — 36
LADY MUSTANGS (50) — Jaclyn Griffith 14, Kat Alomar 10, Spann 6, Jones 5, Macon 4, Mowery 3, Davis 3, Cox 3, Percy 2, Patel, Lay, White.
LADY OWLS (36) — India Corley 19, A. Jones 6, Thompson 5, Henderson 3, Cooper 3, Cline, Cain, Taylor, H. Hall, G. Hall, K. Jones, K. Cox, C. Cox.
3-POINTERS: WV 3 (Cox, Griffith, Alomar); Ooltewah 8 (Corley 5, Thompson, A. Jones, Cooper).
FREE THROWS: WV 13-of-21; Ooltewah 2-of-8.
RECORDS: Walker Valley 5-1, 2-1 District 5-AAA; Ooltewah 1-5, 0-2.