Walker Valley’s Lady Mustangs opened the tripleheader with a decisive 63-33 win in a late-afternoon game, pushing their record on the season to 7-0.
Following Ooltewah’s wrestling win over the Mustangs, the basketball Owls pushed their record to 8-0 with an impressive display of talent ... size, speed and strength. The Mustangs played decently, but still lost to the unbeaten Owls, 86-59.
The Walker Valley teams will now take a break until a holiday tournament at Lenoir City Dec. 28. The Mustangs and Lady Mustangs are also looking to reschedule a doubleheader at Polk County which was postponed Monday because of the weather.
Lady Mustangs 63,
Lady Owls 33
Coach Jan Spangler’s girls broke open a tight game in the second quarter, using their exceptional balance and a tough, aggressive defense to pull away from the home team.
Ooltewah trailed by only four points at the end of the first quarter, 17-14, but Walker Valley went on a 22-6 run in the second stanza to put the Lady Owls in a deep hole. A 14-6 edge in the third quarter allowed Spangler to use her reserves in the final eight minutes.
“I thought our subs came in and played well to finish the game,” she said of using all her players.
“We started slow, but our defense settled us down in the second quarter and we got in the flow on offense,” the first-year Walker Valley coach said after the game.
Senior playmaker Jordan Neuharth, who has signed a scholarship to play basketball at Lee University, set the pace for the unbeaten Lady Mustangs with 19 points. She led the offensive rush through the second quarter.
Neuharth’s sister Taylor, a junior, added 11 points to the Walker Valley total and senior center Kayla Sewell got 10.
The Lady Mustangs displayed their balance once again, with eight players scoring and five getting 3-pointers. Taylor Neuharth had two goals from long range, while Jordan Neuharth, Laurel Allen, Karis Terpstra and Jessica Stepp all got one.
Tall Kianna Delaney was the main force for the Lady Owls, scoring 20 of her team’s 33 points. The Ooltewah girls fell to 2-5 with the loss.
Coach Jesse Davis’ powerful Owls were forced to play hard for Tuesday’s win, despite the 27-point victory.
The Mustangs challenged the home team, but just didn’t have enough weapons to slow down Ooltewah’s high-scoring offense. The Owls are the top-ranked boys team in District 5-AAA this season.
Walker Valley coach Bob Williams is disappointed that his team is facing a lengthy break, just when the Mustangs seem to be improving. “We need playing time,” Williams said after the loss to the powerful Owls.
“They’re probably the best team we’ve played,” Williams said after the game. “You try to hold down one of their players ... and another one steps up. They have a deep bench and some leapers. They jumped on us in the second and third quarters.”
Williams said his Mustangs need to focus on the fact they’re improving. “It’s a struggle right now, but we can’t get discouraged. Hopefully we’ll be better by the end of the season.”
The undefeated Owls put an impressive array of talent in the starting lineup, but brought additional off the bench. Ten of the 12 players who dressed for the Owls scored.
Talented center Wesley Richey sparked the offensive parade with 23 points, including a 3-pointer. Andre Moton added 13 and Antonio Jackson got an even dozen for the Owls. Mikhail Creech and Juice Arnold added nine points apiece, and Jevron Johnson got eight.
Guards Caio Hysinger and Drew Zaleta combined for 29 of Walker Valley’s 59 points, and Jahmal Johnson added 10. Zaleta missed some action in the second half after he cut his lip on a drive to the basket.
The game was fast-paced from start to finish, which probably didn’t play to the Mustangs’ strengths. The Owls jumped out to a 10-point lead, 24-14, at the end of the opening quarter and kept that edge through halftime. The Owls were in control, 48-33, at intermission after scoring the final five points of the first half.
Ooltewah’s lead jumped to 30 points near the end of the third quarter, 74-44, and coach Davis used the reserves over the final eight minutes. Walker Valley’s reserves played well in the final quarter.
LADY MUSTANGS 63, LADY OWLS 33
Walker Valley 17 22 14 10 — 63
Ooltewah 13 6 6 8 — 3
Walker Valley (63) — Jordan Neuharth 19, Allen 4, Kayla Sewell 10, Taylor Neuharth 11, Terpstra 5, Stepp 5, Sotuyo 4, Black, Liner, Macon 5.
Ooltewah (33) — Alvey, Bradley 2, O’Shea 6, Bolden 2, Kianna Delaney 20, Lemon, Smith, Didas, Baird, Brown, Barrett 2, Morgan 1.
3-point goals: Walker Valley 6 (T. Neuharth 2, J. Neuharth, Allen Terpstra, Stepp).
Records: Walker Valley 70; Ooltewah 2-5.
OWLS 86, MUSTANGS 59
Walker Valley 14 19 9 17 — 59
Ooltewah 24 24 27 11 — 86
Mustangs (59) — Drew Zaleta 14, Hunter 2, Lowe, Caio Hysinger 15, Brownfield 5, Jahmal Johnson 10, Cartwright 4, Franklin 6, Savage 3, Anthony, Young.
Owls (96) — Antonio Jackson 12, Creech 9, Andre Moton 13, Wesley Richey 23, Jervon Johnson 8, Arnold 9, Wilson 2, Whiteside 2, Holder 3, Dupree, Ware 5, Snider.
3-point goals: Walker Valley 3 (Zaleta 2, Savage); Ooltewah 8 (Jackson 2, Moton 2, Richey, Arnold, Holder, Ware).
Records: Walker Valley 1-6; Ooltewah 8-0.