Story by Jack Essenburg, Walker Valley Freshman
Cut the net! The Mustangs have reached a goal of any high school basketball team–they are headed to Murfreesboro for the state tournament.
Walker Valley defeated Lawrence County by a score of 62-60 on Monday, March 7, with an amazing crowd on hand to witness the feat. The Mustangs’ Gym was as loud as it has ever been, creating a wild atmosphere for the hard-fought game.
The Stangs were shaky in the first quarter and trailed 18-10 after one. With two fouls called on the Mustangs’ post player, Kenny Bunton, Walker Valley continued to fight.
As the second quarter played on, the Mustangs fought their way back, forcing a tied up, 30-30 ball game at the end of the first half.
The second half was a great half of basketball. The game was neck and neck, and with about a minute left in the game, Kolten Gibson hit a clutch go ahead three.
With the clock winding down and the Mustangs down by one and lacking a timeout, Bryce Nunnelly rushed down the court and split the defense on the left side of the lane. Nunnelly dished the ball off to senior Josh Jones who made the biggest layup of the year, while getting fouled and sinking his free throw to convert a memorable three-point play. This play sent the Mustangs to the state tourney. The guys showed maximum effort and showed why it is important to never give up.
To make it to state was a huge milestone for the Mustangs this year, and now that they have achieved this goal, they will be laying it all out on the line to win the state tournament. Coaches Bob Williams, Will Campbell, and Dine Patterson have believed in this team all year, even after a tough 8-6 start.
Kenny Bunton had some words on how the team will approach the state tournament. “We’re just going to go into State with the same approach we’ve had since Christmas. We’re going to keep playing tough defense and keep playing team ball. Anyone is beatable, so we have to keep playing to win.”
Josh Jones shared his thoughts on what the Mustangs need to do in order to win games in the state tourney. “Offensively, I think we have to continue to trust each other and continue to be patient. On defense we have to keep being aggressive and communicating. Communication is the key on defense and when we do these things we are tough to beat.”
The Stangs continue to fight for each other and are striving to go deep and, hopefully, all the way in the state tournament in Murfreesboro. Walker Valley will play in the first round of the tourney on Wednesday, March 16, at 11am EST against Cordova. This will be a great matchup, and you can count on the Mustangs to give everything they have in this huge game.