In a game of unbeatens, the Lady Mustangs ended Baylor’s six-game win streak with an impressive, 59-44 victory. Walker Valley used a pesky defense and balanced scoring to pull away from their hosts in the second half.
It was an especially pleasing win for new Walker Valley girls’ coach Jan Spangler. The Lady Mustangs hit nine 3-pointers against a good-shooting group of Lady Raiders who had dominated in six consecutive wins before Tuesday night’s setback.
It was also Walker Valley’s second win in a row over quality opponents. The Lady Mustangs had turned back archrival Bradley Central on Friday, then followed with Tuesday’s impressive performance and fifth straight victory.
Bradley Central will play at Baylor on Thursday.
The Walker Valley boys found points at a premium for the second game in a row, falling before the full-strength Red Raiders, 71-40. Baylor’s tough inside defense limited the Mustangs in scoring.
Only four Mustangs broke into the scoring column, and two of those combined for only six points. Thirty-four of the team’s 40 points came from just two players. The loss drops Walker Valley to 1-3 on the young season, leveling Baylor’s record at 1-1.
Lady Mustangs 59,
Lady Raiders 44
It was perhaps the best game of the season for Walker Valley center Kayla Sewell. She had a season high of 13 points and was extremely aggressive on the boards for the winners.
It was another balanced performance on both ends of the floor for the undefeated Lady Mustangs.
High-scoring Jordan Neuharth tossed in 17 points to lead her team, including a pair of 3-pointers. Jessica Stepp added 11 points with three 3-pointers, while Neuharth’s sister Taylor chipped in eight points, including two 3-pointers.
Seniors Laurel Allen and Karis Terpstra added to Walker Valley’s scoring total with five points each, both getting a 3-pointer as the Lady Raiders connected on nine long-range shots during the game.
The game was tough for the Lady Mustangs early. The host Lady Raiders dashed in front by six points, 10-4, after five minutes of action. Terpstra, Sewell and Taylor Neuharth then hit back-to-back-to-back goals to cut the Baylor lead to a point at the end of the first quarter, 12-11.
Coach Spangler’s Lady Mustangs took their first lead at 13-12 on a shot from the wing by Terpstra to open the second quarter, and Walker Valley galloped to a 23-14 lead against the stunned Lady Raiders. Walker Valley was on top by nine at the half, 34-25.
Consistency by the Lady Mustangs continued to control the game through the second half. Baylor got within five at 38-33, but Walker Valley regained its nine-point advantage at the end of the third period, 45-36.
The Lady Mustangs increased their lead to 20 points, 59-39, with just over three minutes remaining in the game and both coaches used reserves down the stretch.
Red Raiders 71,
The Mustangs were sluggish at the start and sluggish at the end, with only a few offensive spurts in between.
Austin Clark, who is approaching his 30th year as coach of the Red Raiders, was pleased and somewhat surprised by the convincing victory. “Monday was the first time I have had all my players at practice,” he said.
Baylor advanced in the TSSAA state football playoffs, and several of Clark’s key players were also on the football team. The short-handed basketball Raiders had played only one game, losing to neighboring Red Bank.
Despite limited time on the hardwood, the Baylor defense was superb. The Raiders continued to box the Mustangs away from the goal on both ends of the court.
Drew Zaleta and Jahmal Johnson carried the Walker Valley offense on their shoulders. Zaleta finished the game with 18 points and Johnson got 16 ... 34 of Walker Valley’s 40 points.
Johnson hit four 3-pointers and Zaleta hit two, so almost half of Walker Valley’s points came from long-range.
Baylor’s Tylan Martin had a sensational game for the Raiders, with 20 points for game honors. He joined teammates Jeff Burke and David Clendenen to smother Walker Valley’s inside offense.
Burke added 12 points to the Baylor total, and Leo Born got 10. The Raiders placed 10 players in the scoring column, and everyone on the roster got into action during the game.
Baylor jumped ahead by seven in a very slow first quarter, 10-3. The action picked up in the second stanza with Baylor on top by 14 at halftime, 32-18.
The Mustangs stayed in touch (somewhat) through the third quarter on buckets from Zaleta and Johnson, but still trailed by 17 entering the final quarter, 47-30. A 24-10 margin for the Raiders in the fourth quarter ended the scoring.
n Walker Valley’s girls also won a junior varsity game, 55-17. Maggie Thompson scored 16 points and Aaliyah Pitner got 15 for the winners.
WALKER VALLEY 59, BAYLOR 44
Walker Valley 11 23 11 14 — 59
Baylor 12 13 11 8 — 44
Lady Mustangs (59) — Jessica Stepp 11, Jordan Neuharth 17, Kayla Sewell 13, Allen 5, Terpstra 4, Taylor Neuharth 8, Sotuyo, Black, Macon, Liner.
Lady Raiders (44) — Ausdran 9, Prater 2, Williams 8, Amber Howard 17, Armstrong 5, Brown 2, Nabors 1, Kaufman, Nation, Howard, Carter, High.
3-pointers: Walker Valley 9 (Stepp 3, Neuharth 2, T. Neuharth 2, Allen). Baylor 4 (Howard 3, Mary Ellen Williams).
Records: Walker Valley 5-0; Baylor 6-1.
BAYLOR 71, WALKER VALLEY 40
Walker Valley 3 15 12 10 — 40
Baylor 10 22 15 24 — 71
Mustangs (40) — Drew Zaleta 18, Hunter, Lowe, Hysinger 2, Brownfield, Cartwright, Savage, Hobbs, Anthony, Jahmad Johnson 16, Young.
Red Raiders (71) — Morgan 2, Leo Born 10, Gibson 7, Tylan Martin 20, Jeff Burke 12, Clendenen 4, Upshaw 7, McColley, Nicewander 3, Deng, Clark, McRae 4, Belcher 2, C. Born.
3-pointers: Walker Valley 6 (Johnson 4, Zaleta 2). Baylor 5 (L. Born, Gibson, Martin, Upshaw, Nicewander).
Records: Walker Valley 1-4; Baylor 1-1.