Both boys and girls teams came to Wednesday’s games ready to play, and both walked off the court with solid victories against Greenback High School.
The Lady Mustangs took their game 46-41 in a drama-filled nail-biter, and the boys routed their opposition, cruising to a 73-38 final.
Wednesday saw a promising start for a Walker Valley girls crew who didn’t bring their best game the day before.
“This team came to play today, they didn’t yesterday. We still need to work on being more consistent,” stated Walker Valley girls coach Jessica Stone.
Getting off on the right foot, the Lady Mustangs quickly went on a 7-0 run and looked to be off to a solid start.
But, small mental mistakes and Greenback dominance on both boards let the Lady Cherokees bounce back quickly, putting up nine straight to steal the lead.
Continued second-chance looks resulted in numerous Greenback points, and a Walker Valley team that had started strong began to fizzle.
Going into the half the Lady Mustangs found themselves down 25-19, and in need of a solution.
When they took the floor to resume play the girls appeared to have found their answer.
Range quickly became Walker Valley’s friend as players started finding their 3-point stroke, and with it a surge of momentum.
“The 3’s were big. Our freshmen Jaclyn [Griffith] hit two back-to-back and then Jessica [Stepp] knocked a couple down,” Stone stated.
Walker Valley had cut the lead to two points as the teams entered the final period of play.
The fourth period saw five lead changes as the clock wound down.
But, Greenback kept giving the Lady Mustangs open looks from the perimeter and Walker Valley took advantage, draining back-to-back 3-pointers and taking a tenuous 44-41 lead with 26 ticks left.
During the final seconds of the game sophomore point guard Lindsey Macon showed impressive awareness when she dove for a loose ball and called timeout before a potentially costly Walker Valley turnover could occur.
“It is awesome to see young players make such important plays. You can’t really coach stuff like that. She is really growing into an important role,” explained Stone.
The resulting inbound play resulted in two more Lady Mustang points, and the team walked off the court with a 46-41 final.
Walker Valley was led by Stepp and Griffith, who each netted 14 for the Lady Mustangs.
Mustangs 73, Cherokees 38
The saying “The best offense is a good defense” was put into action as the Walker Valley Mustangs faced off against the Greenback Cherokees.
An aggressive Mustang press gave the Cherokees fits early, and a number of forced passes resulted in turnovers and Walker Valley points.
Going into the half the Mustangs had already established a solid 39-16 lead by playing a very quick and solid defense.
Walker Valley came back onto the court a little flat when play resumed but quickly righted the ship and found their tempo and intensity once again.
“We aren’t necessarily used to being in the position of having a big lead going into the half. I told them at halftime to consider the score 0-0 and just keep building from there,” Walker Valley head coach Bob Williams said.
As the game wound down a number of Mustang bench players saw some quality minutes and gained important experience for later in the season; this fact is currently made even more important by the continued injury absence of Mustang starter Caio Hysinger.
“We needed a game like this where we could build a little confidence. Everyone who got on the court today made a contribution and played really well today,” Williams stated.
Walker Valley was led by Lukas Korn with 14, Colton Morrow scored 13 and Jahmal Johnson put 11 on the scoreboard.
Both squads will be in action again today, playing in the tournament’s fifth-place game. Both squads will be facing off against Powell. The girls see action at 1 p.m. and the boys tip off again at 2:30.
Greenback 9 16 8 8 — 41
Walker Valley 9 10 12 15 — 46
Lady Cherokees (41) — K. Sparks 10, K. Knight 10, Tipton 7, Rhyne 5, Winters 3, Rhyne 2.
Lady Mustangs (46) — Jessica Stepp 14, Jaclyn Griffith 14, Macon 2, Watson 4, Lawhorn 4, Sotuyo 8.
3-point Goals: Greenback 4 (Tipton, Rhyne, Winters, Knight); Walker Valley 6 (Stepp 4, Griffith 2).
Free Throws: Greenback 7-of-13; Walker Valley 10-of-11.
Records: Greenback 6-6; Walker Valley 3-7.
Greenback 8 8 11 11 — 38
Walker Valley 19 20 18 16 — 73
Cherokees (38) — Tyler Bryant 13, Franklin 3, Pace 2, A. Bryant 6, Thomas 5, Disney 5, Goodson 4.
Mustangs (73) — Lukas Korn 14, Colton Morrow 13, Jahmal Johnson 11, Godfrey 6, Harwood 4, Melton 5, Cartwright 2, Russell 9, Hunt 2, Swafford 5, Brownfield 2.
3-point Goals: Greenback 2 (Franklin, Thomas); Walker Valley 7 (Godfrey 2, Russell 2, Morrow 2, Melton).
Free Throws: Greenback 6-of-13; Walker Valley 7-of-7.
Records: Greenback 2-9; Walker Valley 3-6.