The Lady Mustangs led from start to finish and walked away with an 82-35 District 5-AAA win. The Mustangs trailed after the first quarter, but after breaking a second quarter tie, took control and ended with a 66-41 victory.
It didn’t take long for head coach Jessica Stone to start pulling her starters and running through the roster. Wendi Watson scored 17 first-half points and finished with 21 in limited second half action. Jaclyn Griffith reached double figures with 12.
A strong first quarter put the Lady Mustangs (12-12, 5-5 District 5-AAA) out front 27-13. Defensively, Walker Valley kept the pressure on the Lady Trojans (9-12, 0-8) holding the visitors to only seven second-quarter points.
The Lady Mustangs led 52-20 at halftime.
“It is very pleasing,” Stone said about playing her entire roster in the district win. “It’s not that big a dropoff (when she substitutes). They know what they are doing. They just lack experience.
“Little Callie Davis comes in and gives us a big boost. She is so little, but she always seems to be in the right spot at the right time.”
Showing no ill effects from their second game in as many days, the Walker Valley girls stepped it up even more on the defensive end in the third quarter, allowing only three points from Soddy.
“The girls don’t seem tired. They seem excited. I walked into the locker room after the game and one of the couches was turned over because they went running in and slammed into it,” Stone said with a smile.
Stone gave credit for the win to the team play attitude showed by the Lady Mustangs from start to finish.
“They played team basketball. That has gotten a lot better. Since we came back from Christmas we have been unselfish,” said Stone. “Wendi Watson is probably one of the most unselfish people on our team right now, which is awesome coming from a senior.”
The going gets tougher for the Lady Mustangs as they prepare to close out with Cleveland and district leading Bradley Central.
“We’ve got Cleveland and Bradley. What do you say about them. Are we ready? We had better be,” said Stone.
The Mustangs avenged an earlier 56-46 loss to Soddy-Daisy by breaking open the lane that was closed to traffic in the first meeting.
“We knew what Soddy was going to do. They’ve had our number. The last time we played them they packed it in the lane and there was no driving lane,” said Walker Valley coach Bob Williams. “We were patient and got some shots to go down.”
Patience paid off in a big way for the Mustangs after coming back from a first-quarter deficit. Lukas Korn tied it at 15-15 and with his heels just inside the 3-point line, and Logan Melton put Walker Valley (14-9, 4-6 District 3-AAA) out front 17-15.
The Trojans (8-14, 1-9) came back to take a brief lead before a Tucker Godfrey 3 gave the advantage back to the Mustangs. Derice Anthony closed out the first half for Walker Valley with a 3 from the top of the key to give the hosts a 25-20 lead at halftime.
Godfrey ended the night with a game-high 21 points including three 3s. Dustin Swafford was the only other Mustang in double figures with 11. Overall, 11 Mustangs put points on the board.
While the Mustangs picked it up on offense, Williams said it was the defense that did the trick and got the win.
“I think defense won it tonight. I told them defense is going to win the game, [allow us to] get into transition on some steals. I thought the guys did a good job on defense,” said Williams.
The Mustangs took over the game on both ends of the court in the third quarter. An 11-0 run put Walker Valley out front 43-24, and as did Stone with the Lady Mustangs, Williams substituted freely with the entire roster seeing action.
“That’s great,” Williams said of the chance to get his roster valuable court time. “Everyone from one through 13, they all work hard in practice. I love to have opportunities to put everyone in the game like that. And we didn’t have any letdowns. We put them in and they kept going.”
After closing out the win, The Mustangs turn their attention to a tough three-game stretch run to the district tournament.
“The seniors know it’s getting close to the end and they want to try to play as long as we can play. It’s been such a good group of seniors and they are playing hard right now,” said Williams.
“We’ve got a tough stretch the last three games. We are looking forward to the challenge. Cleveland is going to be ready and then we’ve got Bradley and Baylor next week to finish out the season. It’s going to be a tough stretch. It will be fun.”
LADY MUSTANGS 82, LADY TROJANS 35
Soddy-Daisy 13 7 3 12 — 35
Walker Valley 27 25 19 11 — 82
Soddy-Daisy (35) — Mallory Wade 11, Harris 2, hale 3, Hopkins 6, King 3, Ward 5, Phillips 5, Duncan, Mitchell, Smith, Hancock.
Walker Valley (82) — Wendi Watson 21, Jaclyn Griffith 12, C. Davis 9, Macon 8, Mowery 8, Wilson 6, Alomar 5, Cox 4, Jones 4, P. Davis 3, Percy 2, Spann.
3-point goals: Soddy-Daisy ; Walker Valley 4 (Watson 2, Griffith, P. Davis).
Records: (Soddy-Daisy 12-12, 5-5 District 5-AAA); (Walker Valley 9-12, 0-8).
MUSTANGS 66, TROJANS 41
Soddy-Daisy 15 5 7 22 — 41
Walker Valley 13 12 20 30 — 66
Soddy-Daisy (41) — Tucker Landreth 15, Andy wright 14, Amos 2, Carter 6, Jeffries 4, York 6, Millsaps 2, Floyd, Shaughnessy.
Walker Valley (66) — Tucker Godfrey 21, Dustin Swafford 11, Crews 9, Anthony 7, Brownfield 7, Korn 6, Hysinger 6, Harwood 2, Melton 2, Morrow 2, Hunt 2, Cartwright, Russell.
3-point goals: Soddy-Daisy 6 (Landreth 5, Wright; Walker Valley 8 (Godfrey 3, Crews 3, Anthony, Hysinger).
Records: Soddy-Daisy (8-14, 1-9 District 5-AAA); (Walker Valley 14-9, 4-6 ).