After netting just 3-of-16 field goals, plus only 3-of-10 free throws, and trailing 10-9 at the intermission, Walker Valley’s boys were able to get their offense going and used a strong second half to claim a 44-27 victory over Sequoyah, which sank just nine baskets from the field the entire game.
“The good news is we played good defense for the third game in a row,” declared Mustang coach Bob Williams. “Our offensive struggles in the first half didn’t affect our defense. Our shots really weren’t that bad, they just weren’t falling. Thankfully we were able to pick it up in the second half.”
In the girls game, the Lady Mustangs held a five-point advantage late in the third period, but then went cold, making just two of their final 11 shots and turning the ball over seven times the remainder of the contest as the visitors rallied for a 51-41 win.
With an extra day to prepare, Walker Valley will return to District 5-AAA action Friday evening with a trip to Jim Smiddy Arena to face cross-county rival Bradley Central.
The Lady Mustangs (12-6, 5-1 District 5-AAA) stunned the Bearettes (11-5, 4-1) 45-38 in their first meeting of the season, while the Bears (9-7, 5-0) were able to slip past the Mustangs (11-7, 3-3) in a very tight 54-53 battle.
While the Walker Valley defense only allowed the visiting Chiefs (7-9) a lone free throw in the opening 10 minutes Monday, the Mustang offense netted just a pair of baskets by senior Austin Harwood, plus a field goal and free throw from classmate Lukas Korn during that same stretch of time.
The hosts were the ones who couldn’t find the bottom of the net from the field in the second period, going 0-for-4 from both sides of the 19-foot arc, while hitting just a trio of free throws during the final 11 1/2 minutes of the opening half.
It didn’t look like either team was going to hit double figures before the intermission, but a late 3-pointer gave Sequoyah the 10-9 edge at the break.
“I told them at halftime, we needed to be more aggressive and get some easier baskets,” related Coach Williams. “We had to do something to break out of the funk we were in.”
His “stallions” listened and came out strong to get four steals, three by senior Brandon Crews, and a monster block by Korn, to help key a 19-point third quarter, all the while holding the Chiefs to just five points during the same stretch.
“We were able to get some transition baskets, plus we hit some big 3s there that helped put some distance between us,” expressed Coach Williams.
After pushing their newfound lead to double digits, the Mustangs got a buzzer-beater 3-pointer from the corner by senior Dustin Swafford to put the hosts up 28-15 heading into the final frame.
Once again holding Sequoyah scoreless for nearly the first five minutes of the final frame, the Mustangs stretched their advantage to its highest point at 22 before the Chiefs hit four 3-pointers as both teams cleared the benches.
Korn was the lone double-digit scorer in the contest, netting 13 points to go with a dozen rebounds for a double-double. He also dished out a pair of assists.
Swafford finished with seven points and a half dozen caroms, while Crews had five points and five steals.
Walker Valley hit just 11-of-25 shots from close range, 3-for-13 from “distance” and just 13-of-24 at the charity stripe. Sequoyah made more 3-pointers (5-of-15) than two-pointers (4-for-26). While the turnovers were close (15-13), the Mustangs dominated the backboards by a 35-22 margin.
LADY CHIEFS 51
LADY MUSTANGS 41
In a tight battle for the first three quarters, the teams traded the lead three times in the opening frame before Walker Valley held a slim 14-12 edge at the first buzzer.
Despite Sequoyah retaking the lead by hitting the first two baskets of the second period, the teams saw the same two-point Lady Mustang advantage at the intermission.
Six minutes into the third quarter, Walker Valley had edged up by five, but the visitors fought back for the final three buckets of the frame, including a fast-break basket in the final five seconds to take a 36-35 lead as the horn sounded.
Along with the final two minutes of the third frame, the Lady Mustangs could not find the bottom of the net for the first 4:20 of the final period, when sophomore Kat Alomar drained a 3-pointer to cut the difference from nine to six points.
The gap closed even tighter when senior Victoria Jones hit from “downtown” to make it a three-point contest with a minute remaining, but the visitors added the final half dozen points to the scoreboard to push the difference back to double digits at game’s end.
Alomar paced Walker Valley with 14 points and five rebounds, while junior Jaclyn Griffith helped out with 10 markers and eight caroms. Senior Lyndsey Macon added a half dozen assists, four points, four rebounds and a pair of thefts to the home effort.
Sequoyah made 21-of-62 shots from the field, while the Lady Mustangs made only 3-of-22 3-pointers, while going 14-for-24 from inside the arc.
Sequoyah 12 8 16 15 — 51
Walker Valley 14 8 13 6 — 41
LADY CHIEFS (51) — Savannah Atchley 17, Emily Ingram 13, Chancey Welsham 11, Simpson 4, Whited 4, White 2, Haynes, Isbill.
LADY MUSTANGS (41) — Kat Alomar 14, Jaclyn Griffith 10, Jones 7, Macon 4, Mowery 4, P. Davis 2.
3-POINTERS: Sequoyah 2 (Atchley, Ingram); WV 3 (Alomar 2, Jones).
FREE THROWS: Sequoyah 8-of-13; WV 4-of-6.
RECORDS: Sequoyah 12-6; Walker Valley 12-6.
Sequoyah 1 9 5 12 — 27
Walker Valley 6 3 19 16 — 44
CHIEFS (27) — Hawkins 6, King 6, Hampton 5, Morris 3, McCrary 3, Schaffer 2, Abernathy 2, Moore, Russell, T. Strickland, B. Strickland, Harmon.
MUSTANGS (44) — Lukas Korn 13, Swafford 7, L. Melton 5, Harwood 5, Crews 5, Williams 4, Russell 2, Nunnelly 2, Morrow 1, Conway, Jones, Herd, Montgomery, Hunt, C. Melton.
3-POINTERS: Sequoyah 5 (King 2, Hampton, McCrary, Morris); WV 3 (Crews, Melton, Swafford).
FREE THROWS: Sequoyah 4-of-7; WV 13-of-24.
RECORDS: Sequoyah 7-9; Walker Valley 11-7.