The Owls had a 16-8 lead when play was halted that warm December night and finished the rescheduled game still ahead by eight points as the final buzzer sounded yesterday.
Nearly a month after the game began, the Mustangs ultimately fell to Owls 65-57 in a key District 5-AAA battle on a chilly Saturday afternoon.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve never had to start a game like that before. It was a little strange for everybody I think, but both teams played hard,” Walker Valley coach Bob Williams said. “We were down eight, then we end up losing by eight. I thought we played good today and played hard. Defensive rebounding is what killed us. Ooltewah crashed the boards, which is one of their strengths and they did that well today. We didn’t block out.”
In the final two minutes of the first quarter, Ooltewah was able to add six more points to the scoreboard, while Walker Valley netted eight more.
The Owls maintained control in the second quarter, closing out the first half ahead of the Mustangs by 11 points.
“In the first half I thought that they were hurting us in transition, and in the second half we did a lot better in stopping the transition,” Williams explained.
Walker Valley was able to outscore Ooltewah by two points, 14-12 in the third quarter with help from a pair of treys coming from senior Brandon Crews.
Senior 6-foot-6 Mustang Lukas Korn was able to swat away a couple shots made by the Owls in the final two minutes of the quarter, helping to keep the home team’s lead to just nine points over the Mustangs.
Going into the final quarter trailing 50-41, Walker Valley netted another 16 points, but it was not enough to stage a come-from-behind win as the Owls added 15 more points to their total.
“We got the ball where we wanted it for the most part, but like I said it goes down to the rebounds on the other end,” Williams stated.
With just over three minutes remaining in the game, a point from the free-throw line by Korn brought the Mustangs within four points of the Owls.
Foul trouble hampered Walker Valley for the remainder of the game though, and following a traveling call on the Mustangs, the momentum stayed in the grasp of Ooltewah.
Overall, the Mustangs were 12-for-17 from the free-throw line and provided Ooltewah with 21 points from its 32 trips to the charity stripe.
Crews led the Mustangs in scoring, finishing the game with 19 points which included four of the team’s five 3-pointers.
Fellow seniors Austin Harwood and Logan Melton came up with 14 and 11 points respectively for Walker Valley on Saturday.
The Mustangs have a busy week ahead of them, playing two District 5-AAA opponents in their next three games.
“We’ve got Cleveland on Tuesday, Baylor on Wednesday and East Hamilton Friday, so we’ve got a full week ahead of us,” Williams said. “We’ve got to work on blocking out. Cleveland is athletic, and they like to crash the boards too. We’ve got to do a better job rebounding.”
Walker Valley 16 11 14 16 — 57
Ooltewah 22 16 12 15 — 65
MUSTANGS (57) — Brandon Crews 19, Austin Harwood14, Logan Melton 11, Korn 9, Swafford 4, Russell, Williams, Jones, Hed, Morrow, C. Melton, Connery, Montgomery, Nunnelly, Hunt.
OWLS (65) — Jarek Boyd 19, Jameal Johnson 13, Ron King 12, CJ Fritz 12, Ross 6, Snider 2, Montgomery, Williams, Wooten, Hughes, Freeman, Strickland, Rose, Turner.
3-POINTERS: WV 5 ( Crews 4, L. Melton); Ooltewah 3 (Johnson 2, Snider).
FREE THROWS: WV 12-of-17; Ooltewah 21-of-32.
RECORDS: Walker Valley 8-6, 2-2 District 5-AAA; Ooltewah 8-5, 3-1 DIstrict 5-AAA.