CLEVELAND, Tenn. - When games get tight, Walker Valley girls' basketball coach Jessica Stone has the luxury of being able to lean on senior Lyndsey Macon's ability to make plays. The three-year starter was needed late in the team's game Tuesday against Cleveland, and as usual she delivered.
Macon passed to Victoria Jones for the go-ahead 3-pointer with 41 seconds to go and put the game away with two free throws as the Lady Mustangs claimed a 59-54 District 5-AAA victory over the Lady Raiders at Lee University.
Macon had 13 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds as Walker Valley (8-4) improved to 4-1 in the district and remains in first place.
"Lyndsey played a complete game. She's improved a lot and understands what I want and what she needs to do for us," Stone said.
The Lady Mustangs never trailed. They jumped to a 12-2 lead and led by double digits on a number of occasions -- the last being 35-23 on a pair of free throws with 4.6 seconds to go in the second quarter -- but Cleveland's Jenna Scoggins hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that seemed to ignite the Lady Raiders. They rallied in the second half, cutting the deficit to five by the end of the third quarter, then tied the score at 52 on a 3-pointer by Nora Berry with 3:22 remaining.
Walker Valley's Jaclyn Griffith and Cleveland's Bre Ware traded two free throws each before Jones' 3 put the Lady Mustangs ahead for good.
"I've told the girls that this a game of runs and that Cleveland was going to make a run," Stone said. "I thought throughout the game the girls stayed focused and continued to battle."
Jones led the Lady Mustangs with 16 points, while Griffith had 11.
The Lady Raiders (7-6, 2-2) got all but four of their points from four players: Sofia Stamatiadis had 15, including three 3s, while Berry scored 13 and Ware and Scoggins had 10 each. The four combined for 10 3s, and Stamatiadis and Ware each had six rebounds.
"I thought we should have won -- we did some things down the stretch to win -- but I thought we did a good job of clawing back into the game," Cleveland coach Mindy Kiser said.
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.