Walker Valley closed out its Thanksgiving tournament appearance in the MurMaid Mattress Cleveland Classic Wednesday with a pair of battles against Hamilton Heights in the Raider Dome at Cleveland High School.
The Lady Mustangs finished up with a 59-45 win over the Lady Hawks. The Mustangs battled hard but had a tougher go against the Hawks, falling by a 54-37 final.
Lady Mustangs coach Jessica Stone said it was the first game to date against a very physical team and the Lady Mustangs handled themselves well.
“They do play physical,” Stone said about the brand of basketball played by the predominantly foreign exchange students and the European style the Lady Hawks bring to the court. “But that works in our favor because a lot of our girls like to push and shove. It was definitely physical.”
Jaclyn Griffith paced the Lady Mustangs with 17 points in the midafternoon victory. Victoria Jones added 12 and Kat Alomar contributed 11.
Alomar scored the first four points of the game and Emily Spann and Jones helped Walker Valley jump to a 9-0 lead. The Lady Mustangs closed out the first quarter with a 16-6 lead.
The Lady Hawks fought back from a 20-8 deficit in the second and cut the Walker Valley lead to 22-17 late in the second, but the Lady Mustangs held on to lead 26-20 at halftime.
“We have three or four or five really good shooters, pretty consistent shooters. It’s very easy for them to settle for 3s when they could very easily get to the rim with an extra pass. We talked at halftime about not settling for the 3 unless they were completely open,” said Stone.
Alomar popped in a 3-pointer to open the third quarter and Peyton Davis added another 3 with just over a minute left in the period to put the Lady Mustangs up 36-26. Griffith added two more before the buzzer and Walker Valley headed into the final eight minutes with a 38-27 lead.
The Lady Mustangs picked up the pace in the fourth with the Lady Hawks staying close on their heels, with Spann, Griffith and Jones all scoring from the field. Jones, Alomar and Lyndsey Macon closed out the win from the free-throw line for Walker Valley.
“We had a game plan going into this one because we have seen them play a couple of times,” said Stone. “I thought as far as being disciplined and consistent it was probably the best game we have played so far this year.”
HAWKS 54, MUSTANGS 37
Hamilton Heights lived up to the “heights” in the school name in the Hawks’ win over the Mustangs. Walker Valley fought to the finish but could not overcome the superior stature of the Hawks, falling behind 16-7 after one quarter of play.
Hamilton pulled to a 20-9 lead early in the second quarter and led by as many as 16 points before taking a 30-17 lead into the halftime locker room.
Lukas Korn, Dustin Swafford and Austin Harwood teamed up to cut the Hawks’ lead to seven points as the third quarter got underway, but the Hawks raced back to go back up by double digits and led 45-29 as the third quarter came to a close.
The Hawks maintained their double-digit lead in the fourth, building a 20-point cushion before closing out the 54-37 win.
“We got their lead back to single digits toward the end of the first half then gave up a lot of easy stuff toward the end of the game. But we were outmatched with the 6-11, 6-7 or whatever,” said Mustangs coach Bob Williams who was not displeased with the effort of his Herd. “I thought we played hard. You have to be hitting on all cylinders to compete with them. We were missing some outside shots and some inside putbacks. But I thought the guys fought hard and played hard.”
“The guys probably changed up some things; 6-11 makes you change your shot inside. It makes you rush your shot and we are not used to seeing that. Our guys have never played against somebody that big. It takes some adjustment,” said Williams. “If Korn goes up straight he scores easy, but 6-11 made him change his shot a couple of times. I told the guys we will never play them again, they have a good team and it is good experience for them.”
LADY MUSTANGS 59, LADY HAWKS 45
Hamilton Heights 6 14 7 18 — 45
Walker Valley 13 13 12 21 — 59
Hamilton Heights (45) — Elizabeth Balogun 13, Victoria Monyei 11, Hunt 9, Vukosavljevic 4, Kasciunaite 3, Kievisaite 3, Izundu 2, Pleatauskaite 2, Paulauskaite, Zalkauskaite.
Walker Valley (59) — Jaclyn Griffith 17, Victoria Jones 12, Kat Alomar 11, P. Davis 7, Macon 6, Spann 6, Lay, Mowery.
3-point goals: Hamilton Heights 6 (Monyei 3, Balogun, Hunt, Kasciunaite; Walker Valley 4 (Jones 2, Griffith, P. Davis).
Records: Walker Valley 3-1.
HAWKS 54, MUSTANGS 37
Walker Valley 7 10 12 8 — 37
Hamilton Heights 16 14 15 14 — 54
Hamilton Heights (54) — Aleska Jugovic 16, Stefan Roknic 16, Ezekiel Balogun 12, Vaitkus 8, Ado 5, Duran 4, Adheke 2, Huyler, Nauseda.
Walker Valley (37) — Austin Harwood 10, Swafford 9, Korn 9, L. Melton 6, Morrow 2, Crews, Russell, Williams, Jones, Herd.
3-point goals: Hamilton Heights 6 (Jugovic 4, Roknic 2); Walker Valley 1 (Melton).
Records: Walker Valley 2-2.