“It looks good on the scoreboard and it feels good to the girls, but we still have a lot of work to do,” declared second-year head coach Jessica Stone. “While the numbers look good, we also gave up 63 points and turned the ball over too much (29 times).”
“We still have a long way to go, but this was a great start,” she added. “We can shoot when we get our foot down and get a good look. We wore them (East Hamilton) down by making them try to match our intensity.”
The Walker Valley boys also came away with a victory in the Hall of Fame doubleheader, breaking open a tie game late for a 64-55 win over the shorthanded Hurricanes, who were minus their top two players, plus several more who are still involved in the football playoffs.
“It’s a good start. We got a lot of players in the game, we’ve got to tighten some things up,” commented longtime Mustang coach Bob Williams. “I’m pleased with the overall effort. We did a good job of responding after they came back to tie the game at the end of the third period.”
Walker Valley will hit the road for another Hall of Fame twin bill Friday evening with a trip across the mountains to White County.
Despite East Hamilton ripping off an 8-2 run to open the night, the Lady Mustangs put up 20 shots in the first eight minutes, finding the bottom of the nylon on 13 of them.
Both teams sank 15-of-23 two-pointers in the opening half, but the Lady Mustangs hit 50 percent of 14 3-point attempts for a 54-33 advantage at the intermission.
The two-time defending District 6-AA champion Lady ’Canes were able to trim a bucket off the difference in the third period, but that was as close as they would come with Walker Valley closing out the contest with a 21-13 run in the final frame.
Coach Stone used all 15 varsity players in the contest, with 11 of them scoring, including three in double figures. “We are going to be constantly running players into the game to try to wear other teams down,” she related. “I feel very confident in 13 to 14 players being on the court at any time,” she said of the players she can dress for a game.
Sophomore Jaclyn Griffith led the Lady Mustang stampede with 18 points, seven rebounds, six assists and a pair of assists.
Senior Wendi Watson helped out with 14 points, including four 3-pointers, plus pulled down a half dozen caroms, four steals and a couple of helps. Junior Lyndsey Macon netted 13 points, handed out a trio of assists and copped three steals, plus blocked a shot.
Senior Lindsey Sotuyo score the first basket of the season for the “Fillies” on her way to nine points, which sophomore Rebecca Beavers matched.
On the night, Walker Valley sank 21-of-36 shots from in front of the 19-foot arc and were 13-for-34 behind it. The high-pressure Lady Mustang defense pestered the hosts with 27 steals and helped to force 39 East Hamilton turnovers.
The Lady ’Canes also had three players score in double figures with 6-foot junior transfer Juliette Harp dropping in a game-high 20, plus clearing 10 rebounds. Junior Lexi Zachery and Kaylee Moon added 10 points apiece. East Hamilton shot 58 percent (29-of-51) from the two-point area, but were just 1-for-6 on 3-pointers.
MUSTANGS 64, ’CANES 55
After the girls’ run-and-gun game, the boys started out a little sluggish but Walker Valley was able to go up 9-3 in the first four and a half minutes, but by the time the first quarter ended its edge had been trimmed to 12-10.
The hosts were able to tie the game twice early in the second frame and briefly led at 19-18 with 2:30 on the clock before the Mustangs closed out the opening half with a 13-4 flurry for an eight-point halftime lead.
Hitting the first two baskets of the second half, the guests pushed their advantage to its highest mark at a dozen points before the Hurricanes blew past the Mustangs with a 15-0 run. Walker Valley was able to fight back to even the score at 44-all by the time the buzzer sounded on the third quarter.
Coach Williams’ “Stallions” hit their full stride in the final eight minutes, galloping to a 20-11 advantage down the stretch to cross the finish line nine points ahead of the ’Canes.
Senior point guard Caio Hysinger was the only player to net double digits for the Mustangs, pumping in 17 points while also handing out four assists.
Senior Tucker Godfrey collected nine points, five steals and a pair of helps in the victory, while senior Jackson Brownfield and junior Luke Korn added eight points apiece. Brownfield also snatched eight rebounds, while Korn pulled down five.
Walker Valley drained 20-of-34 shots (59 percent) from two-point land, but were just 2-for-15 from beyond the arc. The Mustangs also sank 18-of-25 fee throws, while East Hamilton were 4-for-9 from the charity stripe. The hosts hit 7-of-18 long-range shots and were 15-for-29 from close in.
A quartet of ’Canes hit the nets for double figures with Dominic Powell leading the way with 16, Kenny Bunton adding a “baker’s dozen,” Ladarius Watkins netting 11 and Finely Chacko 10.
Walker Valley 28 26 15 21 — 90
East Hamilton 18 15 17 13 — 63
LADY MUSTANGS — Jaclyn Griffith 18, Wendi Watson 14, Lyndsey Macon 13, Beavers 9, Sotuyo 9, Knipp 7, Pitner 5, P. Davis 5, Alomar 5, Cox 3, Percy 2, Jones, Brumfiel, Mowery, Davis.
LADY HURRICANES — Juliette Harp 20, Lexi Zachery 10, Kaylee Moon 10, Petitt 8, J. Caudle 7, Woods 6, McCullom 2, Montgomery, K. Caudle, Stovall.
3-POINTERS: Walker Valley 13 (Watson 4, Knipp 2, Griffith 2, Cox, P. Davis, Beavers, Pitner); East Hamilton 1 (Moon).
FREE THROWS: Walker Valley 4-of-9; East Hamilton 4-of-7.
RECORDS: Walker Valley 1-0; East Hamilton 0-1.
Walker Valley 12 19 13 20 — 64
East Hamilton 10 13 21 11 — 55
MUSTANGS — Caio Hysinger 17, Godfrey 9, Korn 8, Brownfield 8, Harwood 7, Swafford 5, Cartwright 4, Melton 4, Franklin 2, Gregory, Russel, Morrow,
HURRICANES — Dominic Powell 16, Kenny Bunton 13, Ladarius Watkins 11, Finley Chacko 10, Sparks 3, Wright 2, Wingard, Thomas.
3-POINTERS: Walker Valley 2 (Godfrey, Melton); East Hamilton 7 (Powell 5, Bunton, Chacko).
FREE THROWS: Walker Valley 18-of-25; East Hamilton 4-of-9.
RECORDS: Walker Valley 1-0; East Hamilton 0-1.