COOKEVILLE — The third quarter was the difference for the Walker Valley girls on Friday during their Region 3-AAA quarterfinal contest at Cookeville.
After leading by three points at the end of the opening period, the No. 4-seeded Lady Mustangs trailed just 20-18 at halftime, but a 14-3 run by the Lady Cavaliers coming out of the break turned the tide. It turned out to be too much to overcome as the District 6-AAA champion won 65-55 at Cookeville High School.
"We fouled too much and kind of got out of the flow offensively," Lady Mustangs coach Jessica Stone said of the third quarter. "And they (Cookeville) started running out. We were pressuring the whole game, but then they started running out (of it). Once we got that fixed we were good again."
Walker Valley (15-16) trailed by as many as 17 (45-28) early in the fourth quarter on two Karagan Turner free throws, and was down 55-41 with just 2:04 remaining after Sydney Robinson made two free throws.
But the visitors made one final push, reeling off a 10-2 run to close the gap to six (57-51) when Lydnsey Macon buried a 3-pointer with 53 seconds left.
"They (Walker Valley) never stopped battling," Stone said. "They fought hard. I told them in the locker room after the game, 'I don't have a bad thing to say when you battle the way you guys did tonight.'"
They had a chance to close the gap even further when Robinson missed two free throws with 48.7 seconds left. But Cookeville's Hannah Goolsby grabbed an offensive rebound, was fouled on the play and made two free throws.
Walker Valley got no closer than six the rest of the way.
Goolsby and Turner each scored 20 for the Lady Cavs (22-10), who move on to the region semifinals to face White County (20-11), a 56-44 winner at Cleveland.
Goolsby also snared eight rebounds. Robinson added 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Sydney Marek chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds.
Freshman Kathleen Alomar paced the Lady Mustangs with 13 points. Macon added nine points.
The Lady Mustangs finished 11-of-19 at the line, compared to 20-of-27 for the Lady Cavaliers.
Walker Valley 12 6 8 29 — 55
Cookeville 9 11 21 24 — 65
LADY MUSTANGS (55) — Kathleen Alomar 13, Lyndsey Macon 9, Jaclyn Griffith 8, Wendi Watson 8, D.J. Mowery 7, Peyton Davis 6, Victoria Jones 2, Rachel Percy 2.
LADY CAVALIERS (65) — Hannah Goolsby 20, Karagan Turner 20, Sydney Robinson 13, Sydney Marek 12.
Free throws: Walker Valley 11-of-19; Cookeville 20-of-27.
Records: Walker Valley 15-16; Cookeville 22-10.