SODDY-DAISY — Despite only making two of its first 17 field goal attempts and not scoring a point over the final seven minutes of the contest, Walker Valley will continue to dance on in …
SODDY-DAISY — Despite only making two of its first 17 field goal attempts and not scoring a point over the final seven minutes of the contest, Walker Valley will continue to dance on in February.
The Lady Mustangs’ basketball program clinched its 11th consecutive Region 3-AAA Tournament berth and advanced to the District 5-AAA semifinals with a 43-28 win over Ooltewah Thursday night at Soddy-Daisy High School.
“The region berth is great, but I felt like we were not ready to play tonight,” WVHS head coach Paul Cretton said. “However, it is a win and we are moving on. We are just happy that we won and excited about an opportunity to play East Hamilton again.”
Third-seeded Walker Valley (17-10) and No. 2 East Hamilton (15-12) will decide who advances to the district championship with a semifinal showdown 6 p.m. Saturday.
The Lady Mustangs have now won 16 of their past 22 contests, which includes a 49-47 loss to the Lady Hurricanes on the road Jan. 14 and a 49-30 win over the same squad at home Feb. 10.
“I did not know that,” Cretton said when told of his team’s record dating back to Nov. 29. “That is good to know, but we do have to forget about this game. I thought we played one of our best basketball games of the year against East Hamilton last time. We are going to stay positive.”
In what was an offensive struggle for most of the first half, Haley Jones and Emily Anderson blocked a combined six shots in the first quarter for Walker Valley (17-10). Jones, who led the district in blocked shots per game this season, ended with a total of six rejections.
The seventh-seeded Lady Owls (7-19) made their first shot of the contest, coming on a 3-pointer from Annalee Cline, who scored a team-high seven points and made five long-distance shots over two district tournament games.
Even though Ooltewah missed its next 14 shots stretching to the 4:14 mark of the second quarter, the Lady Mustangs had to make five of their last seven shots in the first half to make for a sizeable advantage.
Jones’ offensive rebound putback gave Walker Valley its first double-digit lead at 16-5 with 4:06 left in the first half. She finished with seven points and six rebounds.
Senior Kaley Walker’s steal and assist to junior Lauren Lay for a layup capped a 12-0 Lady Mustang run to build a 20-5 lead with 2:30 before halftime. The run lasted from the 1:12 mark in the first quarter to 2:07 left in the second period.
Walker also added a 3-pointer in the final minute to help build a 26-10 halftime lead.
Sophomore Abbey Davis, junior Macey Clark and Lay each scored four points in the third to help build a 40-19 advantage at the start of the final quarter.
Clark’s second and final 3-pointer came with 7:23 left in the fourth period, which would be the last point scored by Walker Valley the rest of the evening.
Clark led all scorers with 10 points, while Davis finished had nine points and four steals. Lay scored eight and hauled in five rebounds.
Ooltewah shot 16-of-26 from the free-throw line.
If the Lady Mustangs would like to advance to the district championship game, their head coach knows they cannot turn the ball over 24 times again, and there must be a solution for defending EH freshman sensation Madison Hayes.
“Madison is so athletic,” Cretton said. “She is a complete player. She can shoot on the perimeter and she can go around you. That’s definitely a challenge. East Hamilton is so athletic, and they play hard and are well coached. We are going to have to play a whole lot better than we did tonight.”
Ooltewah 5 5 9 9 — 28
Walker Valley 10 16 14 3 — 43
LADY OWLS (28) — Cline 7, Swafford 6, Wardlaw 5, Mills 5, Patterson 4, Poland 1, Kilgore, Collake, Lemon, Turman.
LADY MUSTANGS (43) — Macey Clark 10, Davis 9, Lay 8, Jones 7, Walker 5, Anderson 4, Nipper, Patel, Frost Kile, Knipp, Baker, Fowler, Gibson, Harris.
3-POINTERS: Ooltewah 2 (Cline 2); Walker Valley 4 (Clark 2, Jones, Davis).
FREE THROWS: Ooltewah 16-of-26; Walker Valley 11-of-16.
RECORDS: Ooltewah 7-19; Walker Valley 17-10.
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