The District 5-AAA champion Walker Valley Mustangs proved their title was no fluke as they dominated the Region 3-AAA opening round game Saturday night.
The Mustangs (19-11) won 62-46 to send the Warren County Pioneers (13-21) packing.
“I was impressed with how athletic a couple of their players were. I thought we did a good job defending them,” Mustang head coach Bob Williams said after the win. “We were patient, and we got some good opportunities.”
The evening began in the Pioneers favor, as they managed to hold a lead over the Mustangs until just around the four-minute mark of the first period when a basket from senior Caio Hysinger made it 8-7. Walker Valley added five more points by the end of the period to lead Warren County 13-9.
During the second period, the Mustangs remained in firm control of the game, adding another 12 points and ending the first half ahead 25-18.
The Pioneers held off the Walker Valley offense and managed to tie up the game 25-25 with just over five minutes remaining in the third period.
“We beefed up the defenses a little bit, their point guard was so quick we had to change our defense. I think that was the key,” Williams commented.
The home team went on a scoring run, racking up seven points before the visitors were able to register another basket.
The first half ended with the Mustangs still ahead of the Pioneers, 40-31.
Around the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter a scuffle between Logan Melton and Pioneer Lee Carden broke out over possession of the ball. The visitor threw a punch and quickly found himself ejected from the remainder of game.
The on-court disturbance did nothing to slow the Mustangs, as they went on to score 20 more points before the final buzzer.
Walker Valley’s entire roster saw some playing time in the fourth quarter, ending the game with a decisive 62-46 victory over Warren County.
The offensive efforts of Hysinger and 6-foot-5 junior Luke Korn greatly aided the Mustangs Saturday night. Hysinger racked up 17 points, while the red-hot Korn continued on his point streak and tallied up 16 points of his own.
Walker Valley was 11-for-17 at the free throw line, while Warren County was 11-for-16.
Tucker Godfrey, Jackson Brownfield, and Hysinger each contributed 3-pointers for the Mustangs.
With Walker Valley’s win over Warren County, Bradley Central’s defeat of Cookeville, Cleveland pulling off a win against Cumberland County, and Ooltewah coming out on top in White County, District 5-AAA has successfully swept into the Region 3-AAA quarterfinals.
The Mustangs will play the Owls at 6 p.m. on Tuesday night in the “Raider Dome,” followed by another rivalry match-up between Bradley Central and Cleveland at 7:30 p.m.
Walker Valley 13 12 15 22 — 62
Warren County 9 9 13 15 — 46
MUSTANGS (62) — Caio Hysinger 17, Luke Korn 16, Godfrey 7, Harwood 6, Swafford 6, Brownfield 5, Hunt 2, Melton 2, Anthony, Cartwright, Morrow, Russell.
PIONEERS (46) — D’Andre League 13, Tucker Smith 13, Rutledge 6, Carden 5, Simmons 4, Jennings 3, Kominos 2, Lewis, Ladet, Kelley, Taylor, Wood, Grissom, Clark.
3-point goals: Walker Valley 3 (Godfrey, Hysinger, Brownfield); Warren County 4 (Jennings, Rutledge, Carden, League)
Free throws: Walker Valley 12-of-27; Warren County
Records: Walker Valley 19-11; Warren County 13-21.