Walker Valley has done this dance before.
A season ago, the Mustangs entered the District 5-AAA basketball tournament as the No. 4 seed but claimed three victories on their way to the tournament title. If Friday is any indication, they could be on their way to a similar streak again.
The Mustangs placed five players in double figures -- led by Brandon Crews with 30 points -- and cruised to an 89-63 win over Soddy-Daisy in the quarterfinals at East Hamilton. Walker Valley (19-9) will face top seed Bradley Central in the semifinals this evening at 7:30.
The other semifinal pits Cleveland and Ooltewah, who won on each other's home court in the regular season.
Crews had six 3-pointers, two apiece in the third and fourth quarters.
"It's do-or-die time. You have to go out there and perform or you're going home," Crews said. "That's what motivated us to play to the best of our abilities. As a team we've come together a lot. We have a lot of unity in the locker room, and the coaching has allowed us to play better.
"This time of year, everybody has an equal opportunity: It's a whole new season, a new year, and anybody can win, so we have to go out and perform."
Austin Harwood and Dustin Swafford each scored 13 points for the Mustangs, while Lukas Korn had 12 and Bryce Nunnelly tallied 11.
"Brandon has been a good scorer for us," Walker Valley coach Bob Williams said. "It's hard to pick your poison against us because we have a lot of guys that are tough to guard, and that makes it hard to game-plan.
"I've looked back at some of our best teams, and on those teams nobody cared who scored -- they just wanted to win. This team is like that."
The Mustangs took a 22-9 lead after a quarter, as Harwood had four points and three assists in the first eight minutes. Soddy-Daisy (12-13) closed to within eight on a 3-point play by James York with 1:22 left in the first half, but Walker Valley took a 35-26 lead into the locker room, then burst the game wide open with a 10-0 surge to start the third quarter and added a 14-0 run minutes later for good measure.
York led the Trojans with 19 points, while Andy Wright had 15 and Tucker Landreth added 10.
"Walker Valley does a good job of switching gears in the postseason," Soddy-Daisy coach Reid Daniels said. "The guys fought hard. I thought that we were gritty and physical, but Walker Valley matched us with that tonight.
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.
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