Mustangs’ 3-bombs put Chargers away early

By RICHARD ROBERTS Banner Sports Editor
Posted 1/11/17

Walker Valley basketball coach Bob Williams needn’t have worried about the extra layoff after last week’s postponement of a game with Soddy-Daisy delayed the post-Christmas portion of the …

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Mustangs’ 3-bombs put Chargers away early

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Walker Valley basketball coach Bob Williams needn’t have worried about the extra layoff after last week’s postponement of a game with Soddy-Daisy delayed the post-Christmas portion of the schedule another four days.

The Mustangs came out firing from long distance to take a 27-5 lead over McMinn Central and went on to demolish the Chargers, 83-59.

The Lady Mustangs were never able to break the four quarter full-court pressure by the Central girls in the opener and eventually dropped a 67-56 decision.

“I was worried about us having such a long layoff. We haven’t played since Dec. 21, with the game against Soddy-Daisy being postponed Friday. I was a little worried about how we would start out. We’ve been having some pretty good practices during the time off but it’s not the same,” said Williams after the win. “I was pleased with the way we started the game.”

The Mustangs put a quick end to Williams’ concern in the first quarter with a barrage of five 3-pointers. Dakota Murphy and Bryce Nunnelly opened with back-to-back-to-back 3s and Kolten Gibson added a fourth trey to make it an 18-0 game before the Central boys were able to finally drop in a single point from the free-throw line. Gibson added a second 3 with 1:49 left in the first to help push the Mustangs to a 27-4 lead at the buzzer.

Central picked up the pace in the second quarter, outscoring the Mustangs 17-13. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Murphy kept Walker Valley comfortably out front 40-21 at halftime.

Murphy led the Mustangs with 19 points in limited action in the second half. Gibson and Nunnelly added 12 points each and also took an extended rest along with Murphy, who hit five of Walker Valley’s nine 3-pointers. Gibson chipped in with three 3s and Nunnelly also added a trey.

“The second quarter they outscored us and I told them at halftime we had to get back to like we were in the first quarter, and win the third quarter,” Williams said.

The Mustangs took the advice and powered to a 53-24 lead with a 14-3 run that included more 3s from Gibson and Murphy. Defensively, the Mustangs were able to turn turnovers into points and led 68-32 to begin the final period.

“We put pressure on them pretty much all night. We were trying to get some easy offense with our defense. When we executed I thought we took some good shots,” stated Williams, who substituted liberally in the final eight minutes.

The Tuesday win is the first of what the Mustangs hope will be a very productive, although difficult, week on the basketball court. The team travels to Tyner on Thursday before returning to the floor Friday against East Hamilton for a second consecutive road game.

“We’ve got one practice tomorrow for two games Thursday and Friday against Tyner and East Hamilton. We’ve seen Tyner once, but we haven’t seen East Hamilton and they are two tough teams on the road,” said Williams. “We’ve got to be ready to go. Four games in three days, right back into it. But it is what it is, we’ve just got to play.”

CHARGERETTES 67,

LADY MUSTANGS 56

A bevy of turnovers and 3-point shots that missed the mark combined with 32 minutes of full-court pressure proved to be too much for the Lady Mustangs to overcome in Tuesday’s loss to the McMinn Central girls.

“We had 18 turnovers. That’s too many. They like that up tempo. I like to think we can play up tempo but I wanted to be more patient than we were,” said a disappointed Lady Mustangs head coach Paul Cretton after the loss. “I also think we are a good 3-point shooting team but we sure haven’t demonstrated that. We were 1 of 15 from the 3s. You can’t shoot 7 percent. We shot 64 percent from 2s. But I don’t want to quit shooting 3s. We’ve got good 3-point shooters and we’re going to keep playing that way.”

Haley Jones led the Lady Mustangs with 18 hard-earned points. Jones was followed by Abby Davis who fought for all of her 14 on a tough night for the Lady Mustangs.

“I thought Haley Jones played really well tonight. She was 7 for 11 from the floor and shot her free throws well and rebounded well. We got into some foul trouble in the first half but that’s all part of the game,” said Cretton.

Facing a continuous full-court press from Central, the Lady Mustangs battled the Chargerettes from the opening tip and pushed to an early 11-5 lead before an 11-point Central run forced Walker Valley to go into catch-up mode. Central held an 18-13 lead after the first quarter and led 24-18 before Macy Clark’s 3 from the left corner made it a 24-23 game.

Davis cut the McMinn lead to one point twice more before halftime, at which point the Lady Mustangs trailed 35-31.

Central took over in the third quarter scoring 18 points to only eight for the Lady Mustangs. The Walker Valley girls trailed by 16 early in the fourth and were able to close the gap to 11 but could get no closer before the buzzer showed triple zeros.

“That’s the way he plays all the time. He’s been doing that for 40 years,” said Cretton of the full-time Central pressure. “There’s no question you know what you are going to get when you play McMinn Central. They are going to face you and play man-to-man and double team the ball and try to get you in that up-tempo play. I think we have people who can play with them. It’s a good team to play and I’m glad we got the opportunity to play them.”

“We could have pressed. They are very good ball handlers and we are not that deep. I didn’t sub enough. We’ve got a press team and that’s something I didn’t do. I probably should have when Haley got three fouls on her early.”

CHARGERETTES 67, LADY MUSTANGS 56

McMinn Central 18 17 18 14 — 67

Walker Valley 13 18 8 17 — 56

McMinn Central (67) — Jacobi Lynn 20, Bailey Martin 10, Baker 7, Coleman 4, Cherry 8, Plaster 5, Jordan Wright 12.

Walker Valley (56) — Haley Jones 18, Abby Davis 14, Lay 9, Anderson 8, Clark 5, Walker 2.

3-point goals: McMinn Central 5 (Wright 2, Lynn 2, Baker); Walker Valley 1 (Clark).

Free-throws: McMinn Central 20 of 28; Walker Valley 11 of 19.

Records: McMinn Central 14-3; Walker Valley 9-6.

MUSTANGS 83, CHARGERS 59

McMinn Central 4 17 14 24 — 59

Walker Valley 27 13 28 15 — 83

McMinn Central (59) — Bryce Mason 18, Devin Jenkins 12, Allen 6, Holley 2, Long 6, J. Thacker, Davis, Carter 7, Trentham, Blakely 5, M. Thacker, Powers 3.

Walker Valley (83) — Dakota Murphy 17, Kolten Gibson 12, Bryce Nunnelly 12, Johnson 9, Eslinger 9, Westfield 6, Melton 6, Munck 4, Swafford 4, Zakkas 2, Hambright 2, Valenzuela, Rathburn, Wallace, B. Gibson.

3-point goals: McMinn Central 6 (Allen 2, Jenkins, Mason, Carter, Blakely); Walker Valley 9 (Murphy 5, Gibson 3, Nunnelly).

Free-throws: McMinn Central 10 of 15; Walker Valley 13 of 21.

Records: Walker Valley 9-6.

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