MADISONVILLE — The early season struggles continued for the Walker Valley girls on the road in Madisonville Tuesday. The Lady Mustangs never led against Sequoyah and fell to the Lady Chiefs, 76-48.
The Mustangs (6-4) trailed only twice briefly in the nightcap, although they could never deliver the knockout blow to the Chiefs (5-4). Walker Valley dropped in clutch free throws in the closing minutes to lock up a 67-59 win.
"You've got to give them credit, they shot the lights out. Every time we thought we could get a little comfortable they would come back in. You cannot relax against them. They spread the floor well, then penetrate and it's not just one guy, it's two or three guys that can shoot the ball," said Mustangs coach Bob Williams.
"He does a good job with his guys and they were ready tonight. I'm just proud of our guys for stepping up and finishing the game."
Jackson Brownfield ruled the paint for Walker Valley in the win. The Mustangs' big center scored 17 points inside the lines and dominated underneath the nylons.
"He was so much bigger than anything they had inside. They didn't have an inside presence tonight. We should have gotten the ball to him more to be honest. We've just got to make better passes. We were looking, but they were so scrappy we couldn't make the pass sometimes," said Williams.
The Mustangs, trailed only once on a Sequoyah 3-pointer to open the game. A quick comeback put Walker Valley up 9-3 but as it would be all night, the Chiefs stayed within four to seven points for the majority of the 32 minutes.
Walker Valley, after taking a 17-14 lead into the second quarter trailed for the second and last time after back-to-back Sequoyah 3s put the Chiefs up 20-17.
Sequoyah battled back to tie the score at 22-22 before Dustin Swafford lit the fuse on an 11-8 battle to halftime that saw Walker Valley holding on to a slim 33-30 lead.
It was more of the same in the third. The Mustangs pulled to a 37-31 lead but were unable to stretch it into anything more comfortable.
The Chiefs missed a shot at making the score 47-46 when Andrew Millsaps launched a shot just after the buzzer ended the period. The long-range missile banked though the iron from just past half court but counted for nothing and Walker Valley held a 47-43 edge headed into the fourth.
The Chiefs fought to within a single point after opening with the first three points of the final period. The Mustangs responded with a 10-0 run to build their first double-digit lead of the night at 57-46.
With just under four minutes left, Sequoyah managed to cut it to a 57-50 Mustangs lead. With less than three minutes left, the Chiefs were forced to send Walker Valley to the free-throw line. Back-to-back Sequoyah 3s made it 61-57 with 34 second left to play.
Colton Morrow stepped to the line and hit two free throw for the Mustangs with 33 seconds left, then put the game on ice with two more 15 seconds later. Tucker Godfrey put the period on the night with a layup at the buzzer.
"Free throws. I'm proud of our guys for making the free throws down the stretch," Williams said of the 8-for-10 effort. "It was just a tough game. Colton Morrow did a great job finishing. He made the last four points. I thought he did a good job overall, too.
"We've got a lot of work to do. We talked about goals. We've got five seniors and they want to go as far as they can go."
LADY CHIEFS 76,
LADY MUSTANGS 48
Playing without starter Lindsey Sotuyo, the Lady Mustangs quickly found out why the Sequoyah gym is named "The Chop House."
Sotuyo, more than likely out for the season with a broken foot, could only watch helplessly as the Lady Chiefs chopped Walker Valley in every category from rebounds to steals, and most importantly points off fast breaks.
Sequoyah dominated from the outset. Jaclyn Griffith and Wendi Watson lifted in 3-pointers around a Victoria Jones layup for the only points the Lady Mustangs could manage in the first quarter.
The Lady Chiefs led 22-8 after the first eight minutes and led by 20 with just under three minutes left in the half.
The night got no better for Walker Valley in the second half. The Lady Chiefs closed out the third quarter with a 59-33 lead and led by 32 before with under three minutes left to play.
Jones led Walker Valley with 12 points and Jaclyn Griffith reached double figures with 10.
"We've got to learn how to play better half-court defense. We've got to learn we've got to rebound and box out every single possession, not just when we want to. We've got to learn to take care of the basketball. It's as simple as that," said Lady Mustangs coach Jessica Stone.
LADY CHIEFS 76, LADY MUSTANGS 48
Walker Valley 8 10 15 15 — 48
Sequoyah 22 19 18 17 — 76
Walker Valley (48) — Victoria Jones 12, Jaclyn griffith 10, Pitner 9, Davis 5, Beavers 3, Watson 9.
Sequoyah (76) — Chancy Welshan 15, Emily Ingram 14, Danielle Slack 12, Hunter Simpson 11, Savanna Atchley 10, Weese 2, Whited 2, White, Isbill, Guard.
3-point goals: Walker Valley (11) Pitner 3, Watson 3, Davis, Beavers, Griffith; Sequoyah (4) Ingram 2, Simpson, Atchley.
Records: Walker Valley 3-7; Sequoyah 7-3.
MUSTANGS 67, CHIEFS 59
Walker Valley 17 16 14 20 — 67
Sequoyah 14 16 13 16 — 59
Walker Valley (67) — Jackson Brownfield 17, Caio Hysinger 11, Colton Morrow 10, Harwood 4, Cartwright 7, Korn 6, Swafford 4, Russell, Crews.
Sequoyah (76) — Andrew Millsaps 33, Shon Stevens 11, B. Strickland 5, T. Strickland 3, King 4, Shaffer 3, Harmon, Denham.
3-point goals: Walker Valley (2) Godfrey, Hysinger; Sequoyah (5) Millsaps 3, T. Strickland, Shaffer.
Records: Walker Valley 6-4; Sequoyah 5-4.