“Both teams put up 35 shots, and our shots weren’t bad, but they just weren’t going,” remarked Mustang head coach Bob Williams of the 55-40 loss to Murfreesboro Riverdale in the title game. “They (Riverdale) are a very physical team and we were taking the shots they wanted us to take, instead of us getting the shots we needed.”
The Warriors (7-4) sank 20 of their shots from the field, including a half dozen 3-pointers, plus went 9-for-13 at the free-throw line, while Walker Valley (8-4) made just 10 attempts from inside the 19-foot arc and only three beyond it, but were near perfect at the foul stripe, sinking 11-of-12.
“When they’re shooting better than 50 percent (57.1) and we’re hitting just 30 (37.1), we’re going to have a hard time staying with them,” declared Coach Williams.
Riverdale raced out to a quick 17-11 advantage during the opening eight minutes, before Walker Valley slowed the Warriors some by giving up just five second-quarter points while pulling within three (22-19) at the half.
“They (Riverdale) got up early on us, but then we were able to get close by the half, but they came out strong in the second half and pulled away,” Williams related.
The Warriors went on a 19-10 scoring run in the third period to push their advantage to double digits and then coasted to the victory with a 14-10 scoring edge in the final frame.
Riverdale had a trio of players in double figures with 14 from Tyler Smithson, 11 by Steven Wilson and 10 for Fred Woodson.
Walker Valley was led by seniors Lukas Korn with a dozen points, while classmates Brandon Crews and Dustin Swafford added eight points apiece. With 40 and 29 points respectively in the event’s three games, Korn and Crews were selected to the All-Tournament Team.
The Mustangs defeated Murray County (Ga.) and White County by a combined 108-71 tally in the first two rounds, while Riverdale got past the host Northwest Whitfield, 66-52, and Coahulla Creek (Ga.), 61-46, on its way to the title game.
Walker Valley will take a couple of weeks off for the holidays before heading to Ooltewah on Jan. 4 to resume its District 5-AAA battle with the Owls that was suspended earlier this month due to moisture on “The Barn’s” floor.
Riverdale 17 5 19 14 — 55
Walker Valley 11 8 10 11 — 40
WARRIORS (55) — Tyler Smithson 14, Steven Wilson 11, Fred Woodson 10, Duff 9, Mathews 6, Campbell 5, Edwards, Bonds, Bonds, Barge.
MUSTANGS (40) — Lukas Korn 12, Crews 8, Swafford 8, Jones 7, Harwood 3, L. Melton 2, Russell, Williams, Herd, Morrow, C. Melton, Hunt, Montgomery.
3-POINTERS: Riverdale 6 (Wilson 3, Woodson 2, Matthews); WV 3 (Crews 2, Jones).
FREE THROWS: Riverdale 9-of-13; WV 11-of-12.
RECORDS: Riverdale 7-4; Walker Valley 8-5.