After a Friday win by the Walker Valley boys and a loss by the Lady Mustangs against McMinn County, the Walker Valley girls pulled off a solid turnaround to pick up a 64-37 non-district win over …
The Mustangs held strong in the first half and led by double digits at halftime, only to lose focus and allow the Wildcats to take over and grab the come-from-behind victory by a score of 83-71.
In a total inversion to the loss to the Tribe, the Lady Mustangs (8-6) more than doubled their 3-point output offensively and held Sweetwater (4-10 to only 12 points in the second and fourth quarters while allowing only seven and six points in the first and third.
Macey Clark held the hot hand for the hosts, dropping in four of Walker Valley's 10 3-points. A stark contrast from the 3 of 24 performance three nights ago. Clark finished with 14 points to lead all scoring.
“Macey played well. Actually they went box-and-1 in the second half because she shot the ball so well. Abbey (Davis) had a good night, Lauren (Lay) played very well also,” said Lady Mustangs coach Paul Cretton. “They (starters) only played about two-and-a half quarters so they all did well.”
Even with Clark's two first-quarter treys, the Lady Mustangs were still a bit shaky early on, scoring only 12 points in the first eight minutes.
Different story in the second.
After four free-throw points, Clark lifted in back-to-back 3s to lift the Lady Mustangs to a 22-13 lead. Davis added three more from the left wing with 1:55 left in the half to open a 14-point gap. Gracie Fowler finished the 3-point barrage with a final three-ball from the right corner to help the Lady Mustangs end the first 16 minutes with a 32-19 halftime lead.
“We shot the ball a whole lot better tonight. Against McMinn we were 3 of 24 for 3s. You're not going to win many shooting like that. We did much better tonight,” said a pleased Cretton.
The Lady Mustangs picked up where they left off in the third quarter opening with a 9-0 run highlighted with a 3 from the right win off the finger tips of Lay. Emily Anderson and Haley Jones got into the action with 2-pointers that pushed the chasm to a comfortable 41-21 cushion. Fowler, Kyndall Gibson and Lainey Harris capped off the quarter and a 13-2 run with back-to-back 3s behind baskets from Jones and Clark to close out the quarter.
With the starters on the bench, Sweetwater was able to come out in the first half of the fourth quarter with a 9-0 outburst to make it a 54-32 game. From there, the Lady Mustangs picked it up defensively and held the Lady 'Cats to only five points the rest of the way.
Tasia Roberts, Carissa Frost and Gibson combined for nine points to close out the victory.
The Lady Mustangs travel to McMinn Central tonight to face the always tough Chargerettes in “The Little Round Pod” in game two of the three-game week. A trip to Bradley Central is on the slate for Friday.
“They played looser tonight. We've got to relax and play against everybody that way. We had 10 turnovers the first half. They weren't forced turnovers, just poor decision making. But, we did a little better the second half and got an opportunity to play a lot of people,” said Cretton.
“It was a good night. We go to McMinn Central tomorrow (Tuesday) night. That's always a tough place to play. I don't think we've won over there. We'll see what we can do at their place. Johnny (Morgan) always has a good team. Then we go to Bradley Friday. That's going to be fun.”
After building a solid lead to close out the first half, the Walker Valley Mustangs battled themselves as much as the Wildcats and a bevy of foul whistles. In the end, the Mustangs were unable to regroup against pesky Sweetwater in the Monday loss, even with Kolten Gibson piling in 32 points for the Mustangs.
The Bob Williams coached team came out of the gate in full stride with Gibson scoring nine points from behind the 3-point arc to lead the team to a 26 point first quarter. Jordan Munck, and Nate Cooper also lofted in treys for the Mustangs. Munck ended his night with 17 points.
The second quarter turned into a defensive battle with scoring on both ends of the court slowing down considerably. Braden Davis gave the Mustangs (4-10) a 1-point lead over the Wildcats (12-5) with a 2-pointer with just over five minutes left in the half. Munck closed out the quarter and the half with a 3 at the buzzer that again put the Mustangs on top by 10, 39-29.
“Even the 10-point lead should have been 20. We still didn't take advantage of opportunities we had. It is just disappointing we couldn't keep people in front of us,” said Williams. “The way the game was called, you have to adjust to the way the refs called the game.”
The third quarter saw a different group of Mustangs take the floor as a bevy of turnovers turned into points for the Wildcats, who caught and passed the Mustangs with 3:37 left to lead 47-45. Munck's drive to the hoop tied the game at 47 second later. A 3 from the right wing, again by Munck, put Walker Valley up 50-47 before the Wildcats again knotted the score at 51. Dustin Bunton put the Mustangs up by a single point with a put back on a missed layup, but Sweetwater came right back to take a 54-52 lead with 1:12 left in the quarter. Luke Wallace came through with two underneath to send the game into the fourth quarter all square at 54-all.
“We earned it,” Williams said of the halftime lead. “We worked hard to get that 10-point lead and within three minutes they were right there with us. We just turned it over and didn't compose ourselves. We kept turning it over and they took advantage of them and it was a ballgame. They were right back in it.”
A close battle ensued early in the fourth with the Mustangs and 'Cats tying the score twice more before Sweetwater began a steady march to the free-throw line with 4:31 left in the game. The Wildcats closed out the night with 17 of their 27 points coming from stopped clock tosses. The Mustangs were not as fortunate in the free-throw department overall, hitting hitting 2 of 6 from the line in the final eight minutes.
In the second half, Sweetwater hit 21 of 32 from the line and completed 26 of 42 on the night from the line. The Mustangs were good on 5 of 13 for the game.
Williams said he is grateful for the quick turnaround in order to hit the reset button and prepare for a big Friday matchup against the Bears.
“We've got a quick turnaround. We've got another good offensive team with McMinn Central. They've got some good offensive players and we've got to regroup and get it back together. I like that. I think the players like that too, but it's a tough place to play,” he said. “They've got good tradition. It's going to be another good game for us.”
LADY MUSTANGS 64, LADY WILDCATS 37
Sweetwater 7 12 6 12 — 37
Walker Valley 12 20 22 10 — 64
Sweetwater (37) — Shelby Watson 10, Robbins 9, Barr 6, McCool 5, Hurst 4, Martin 3, Henning, Amos, Ellison, Davis.
Walker Valley (64) — Macy Clark 14, Lay 9, Gibson 8, Davis 7, Anderson 6, Jones 6, Fowler 6, Roberts 4, Harris 3, Frost 1, Nipper, Kile, Baker.
3-point goals: Sweetwater 1 (McCool); Walker Valley 10 (Clark 4, Fowler 2, Davis, Lay, Gibson, Harris).
Free-throws: Sweetwater 6 of 10; Walker Valley 8 of 15.
Records: Sweetwater 4-10; Walker Valley 8-6.
WILDCATS 81, MUSTANGS 73
Sweetwater 19 10 25 25 — 81
Walker Valley 26 13 15 19 — 73
Sweetwater (81) — Dominique Oggs 28, Mechie Oggs 24, Matt Kile 15, Billingsly 6, Holley 4, Hicks 2.
Walker Valley (73) — Kolten Gibson 32, Jordan Munck 17, Bunton 9, Cooper 5, Wallace 4, Valenzuela 2, , Davis, Smith, B. Gibson.
3-point goals: Sweetwater 5 (Kile 2, D. Oggs 2, Holley); Walker Valley 10 (Clark 4, Fowler 2, Davis, Lay, Gibson, Harris).
Free-throws: Sweetwater 26 of 42; Walker Valley 5 of 13.
Records: Sweetwater 12-5; Walker Valley 4-10.
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