By the time East Hamilton made its first field goal of the game, the outcome looked to be all but decided. Walker Valley scored the first 12 points and had a 14-1 lead before Mac Brower finally hit a 3-pointer for the host Hurricanes' first made shot from the floor Friday night.
From there, the Mustangs scored the last seven points of the first half and eight in a row early in the third quarter to build an insurmountable lead and cruise for a 55-27 District 5-AAA win.
"I know East Hamilton has a lot of good young talent and I thought the difference tonight was how well we came out and played early defensively," Walker Valley coach Bob Williams said. "Our defense really gave the offense some easy baskets.
"We've been stressing team ball a lot more because our problems have come when our guys try to play too much as individuals. Tonight we played as a team and our defense early really made the difference."
Senior Brandon Crews' 3-pointer got the Mustangs on the board and he added another trey less than three minutes later, capping the 12-0 run to begin the game and causing East Hamilton to extend its defense to limit his open looks, which then opened the inside for Walker Valley.
The Mustangs held East Hamilton freshman scoring threat Kenny Burton scoreless.
"We came out feeling confident, and that showed up in how we shot the ball early," said Crews, who scored a team-high 10 points on a balanced column that included 10 players with at least one basket. "That first 3 I made felt good and got me going, and then they had to adjust their defense after the second one, and that just allowed everybody else to get involved.
"A win like this on the road gives us all the confidence in the world. To hold one of their best players scoreless and to play the way we did tonight is big for our confidence."
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...