Walker Valley’s Mustangs and Lady Mustangs made the trip to Ooltewah High School Friday night to battle with their District 5-AAA Owl rivals. The games were heated; they were emotional, and when the hair and feathers came to a rest the schools had to settle for a split as the Lady Mustangs defeated the Lady Owls 69-58, and the Owls stole a nail-biter from the Mustangs 83-68 in overtime.
Lady Mustangs 69
Lady Owls 58
Friday night was big for the Lady Mustangs, and a win the team desperately needed to snap a three-game slide.
“This win is huge for Walker Valley right now. It’s really big. The atmosphere in the locker room was completely different than what it’s been. We needed that in so many different areas. It gives them confidence and lets that excitement and energy come back,” expressed Lady Mustang head coach Jessica Stone.
Defensive intensity highlighted the night as Walker Valley’s girls refused to relent. If there was a loose ball, there was a Lady Mustang trying to get to it at all costs.
Double team traps and full-court presses caused numerous Lady Owl turnovers in the opening quarters, and an offensive surge to close the game gave Walker Valley an important third victory, and their first district win.
The physicality was evident early as both teams battled hard under the basket. Quick hands and ardent defending started to pay dividends in the second quarter as Walker Valley limited the Lady Owls to just 10 points in the period and were able to go into the half up 28-24.
Mustang nation held their collective breath in the third quarter as both teams refused to relent. After just retaking the lead, Walker Valley senior Lindsey Sotuyo went down in obvious pain with what Stone speculated is an ankle sprain.
Rather than letting the injury kill the team’s momentum, the Lady Mustangs rallied even more, hitting a pair of big 3’s to secure a lead that never again came into question.
“These girls are really good about rallying around each other and supporting each other and that showed tonight. We could have let Lindsey’s injury get us down, but the girls regrouped and played that much harder,” said Stone.
A 22-point offensive explosion in the fourth quarter shot down the Lady Owls’ hopes once and for all as Walker Valley grabbed the 69-58 win and some much-needed momentum moving forward.
Leading the Lady Mustangs was Jaclyn Griffith with 21 points. Peyton Davis also hit double-digit scoring with 10 points.
Owls 83, Mustangs 68, OT
While it might be commonplace for owls to lay eggs, it’s a little attention-grabbing to say that Mustangs did. But, that’s “eggs-actly” what happened Friday night, according to their coach, as Walker Valley’s boys pushed the Ooltewah Owls to overtime before notching a goose egg in the “egg-stra” period to lose 83-68.
“We laid an egg in overtime. I don’t know what happened there. We let a couple of calls get to us. Then we let them have a couple looks and we just stopped doing what we were doing,” stated a frustrated Walker Valley head coach Bob Williams.
Terrible, egg-related jokes aside, the Mustangs took an Ooltewah team that made it to the state quarterfinal last season, won the district, won the region and finished with an overall record of 27-5, and pushed it to an overtime period on the back of some gutsy offensive play and a come-from-behind 20-point fourth quarter.
Walker Valley had the advantage at the end of the first quarter, running and gunning their way to a 20-16 lead, but a 10-4 run at the end of the second period by the Owls sent the team into the locker room knotted up at 35.
The Ooltewah momentum carried over to start the third quarter, as the Owls got things started with another big 13-5 run to gain their largest lead of the game, 48-40.
“Ooltewah can score in such quick spurts. They have so many weapons that can hurt you, but we had shots. It was a game of back-and-forth. We had a good start tonight, and I thought for four quarters we played a great basketball game,” explained Williams.T
But, with their backs against a wall, the Mustangs rallied to start the final period with some offensive fireworks of their own. With seconds left to play, Logan Melton pulled down a tough rebound and grabbed the and-1 to bring Walker Valley fans on their feet, tying the game and putting the Mustangs on the road to overtime.
With the momentum and the crowd behind them, it looked like it might be a magic night for the Mustangs. But, looks can be deceiving.
In the extra period, Ooltewah went 10-for-11 from the charity stripe while Walker Valley recorded a turnover on almost every single possession to kill any chances it had to notch a big district win.
Tucker Godfrey led Mustang scoring with 16 points. Lukas Korn put up a dozen, and Caio Hysinger netted 11 in the effort.
Next up, Walker Valley will travel to Sequoyah Monday, come back home Tuesday with a showdown against Baylor, and finish off the week with another district match-up at Soddy-Daisy against the Trojans.
Walker Valley 13 15 19 22 — 69
Ooltewah 14 10 19 15 — 58
LADY MUSTANGS — Jaclyn Griffith 21, Peyton Davis 10, Jones 9, Percy 8, Pitner 5, Beavers 7, Watson 2, Sotuyo 7.
LADY OWLS — Barrett 29, Jones 11, Taylor 6, Hall 6, Kennedy 4, Hall 2.
3-POINTERS: Walker Valley 7 (Jones, Pitner, Davis 2, Beavers, Griffith 2); Ooltewah 3 (Name Taylor 2, Jones).
FREE THROWS: Walker Valley 10-of-13; Ooltewah 10-of-13.
RECORDS: Walker Valley 3-6, 1-2 District 5-AAA; Ooltewah 2-7, 0-3 District 5-AAA.
Walker Valley 20 15 11 22 0 — 68
Ooltewah 16 19 19 14 15 — 83
MUSTANGS — Tucker Godfrey 16, Lukas Korn 12, Caio Hysinger 11, Harwood 4, Melton 6, Cartwright 9, Morrow 2, Swafford 6, Brownfield 2.
OWLS — Snider 22, Robinson 21, Jackson 4, Ware 8, Presley 5, Fritz 3, Boyd 2, Maston 15, Bass 3.
3-POINTERS: Walker Valley 4 (Godfrey 2, Hysinger, Cartwright); Ooltewah 9 (Maston 5, Bass, Robinson, Snider, Presley).
FREE THROWS: Walker Valley 3-of-3; Ooltewah 22-of-26.
RECORDS: Walker Valley 5-4, 1-1 District 5-AAA; Ooltewah 5-1, 3-0 District 5-AAA.