A pair of shorthanded Walker Valley hardwood squads played host to the East Hamilton Hurricanes Thursday night.
Both the men’s and women’s teams were without some key players.
Ultimately, the Lady Mustangs were able to take away a win, defeating the Lady Hurricanes 46-39. However, the Mustangs were unable to make it a sweep, falling 54-43 in their match-up.
The Walker Valley women were without freshmen point guard Rebecca Beavers for their game, but several members of the team played hard and put in quality minutes.
“We handled the pressure really well tonight. This was a good team we faced, but this was probably some of the best half-court defense we played all season,” said Lady Mustang head coach Jessica Stone.
Senior guard Jessica Stepp, who had battled injuries early this season, lived up to her name and stepped up by knocking down an impressive seven 3-pointers, netting a game high 25 points.
“If Jessica doesn’t come out and have a game like that we might not win,” Stone stated. “That’s just an example of what kind of leader she is on this team.”
Sophomore Lindsey Macon also made several gutsy plays and put 12 on the scoreboard for the Lady Mustangs.
It was back and forth early, until Stepp knocked down a pair of daggers that gave the Walker Valley girls a lead that they never gave back.
Hurricanes 54, Mustangs 43
The Mustangs came into the game with one of their vital playmakers sitting on the bench with injuries.
Caio Hysinger was unable to provide his usual offensive spark to the team because of a shoulder injury suffered against Ooltewah.
To counter the loss of Hysinger, Mustang coach Bob Williams cycled a number of players throughout the night.
Several Walker Valley ballers provided the team with quality minutes, but the team was unable to overtake a hot East Hamilton team.
Quality defensive play and early contributions from the team’s role players kept them in the game early, going into the half only trailing 26-21.
There was a chance for the Mustangs in the second half as aggressive offensive play and fresh legs got the Hurricanes in foul trouble early.
Yet, Walker Valley was unable to capitalize going only 11-for-30 from the charity stripe.
The Hurricanes pulled away quickly as the third quarter came to a close and put the game out of reach in the fourth.
Walker Valley girls will be in action again Monday night as they travel to GPS, while the boys will have some time off as they prepare for the Lenior City Tournament on Dec. 27.
East Hamilton 8 5 7 19 — 39
Walker Valley 13 6 8 19 — 46
Lady Hurricanes (39) — Jessica Caudle 14, Tiffany Lewis 12, Ivins 2, Belle 7, B. Moon 2, K. Moon 2, Zackery 2.
Lady Mustangs (46) — Jessica Stepp 25, Lindsey Macon 12, Griffith 2, Lawhorn 5, Sotuyo 2.
3-point Goals: East Hamilton 3 (Lewis 2, Caudle); Walker Valley 7 (Stepp 7).
Free Throws: East Hamilton 4-of-11; Walker Valley 7-of-9.
Records: East Hamilton 7-3, 3-0 District 6-AA; Walker Valley 3-5, 1-1 District 5-AAA.
East Hamilton 13 13 13 15 — 54
Walker Valley 9 12 6 16 — 43
Hurricanes (54) — Cody Knox 12, Hunter Sagraves 10, Herdon 6, Brooks 5, Powell 4, Griffith 2, Ayer 4, Lenior 2, Watkins 9.
Mustangs (43) — Jahmal Johnson 11, Jackson Brownfield 11. Harwood 5, Cartwright 5, Russell 3, Morrow 6, Franklin 2.
3-point Goals: East Hamilton 4 (Sagraves 2, Herdon 2); Walker Valley 4 (Morrow 2, Russell, Brownfield).
Free Throws: East Hamilton _-of-_; Walker Valley 11-of-30.
Records: East Hamilton 5-4, 1-2 District 6-AA; Walker Valley 5-5, 0-3 District 5-AAA.