CLEVELAND -- The Bradley Bears didn't appear to be all that excited to be wrestling at home Thursday night.
The visiting Walker Valley Mustangs may have been even less thrilled.
In a dual meet featuring a couple of teams still trying to reach their potential, it was the host Bears who won five straight matches in a row at the end to pull out the 39-24 victory at Jim Smiddy Arena.
Billy Raulston's second-period pin at 220 gave the Mustangs a 21-16 advantage, but heavyweight J.
J. Johnson got the Bears moving in the right direction with a 3-0 victory.
By the time Dakota Ream had secured a first-period pin at 126, the difference was 39-21, making Tyrus Hamrick's 6-1 decision at 132 virtually meaningless for the Mustangs.
Bradley improves to 10-1 and will be at Soddy Daisy on Friday night to face Murfreesboro Oakland and Science Hill while Walker Valley falls to 16-3 overall with its second loss to the Bears.
Bradley coach Ben Smith has always preached intensity and all-out effort, but he was hard-pressed to find that kind of effort in his team's first match of the new year.
"I'm not impressed. We've been flat all week and I know it. That bothers me, but a win is a win and we'll take it," Smith said after the match ended.
"We showed up, made weight and were ready to wrestle. I'm not going to take anything away from my team, but I was disappointed with our intensity overall. When some of the matches got tough, we didn't increase our intensity.
"We did what we had to do to win, but we knew that Walker Valley would come here to fight. I'm good friends with every one of their coaches and I knew they wouldn't back down, no matter what. A win's a win and we'll take it," he nodded.
Walker Valley coach Alan Morris was hoping for much better results than what he got. His Mustangs had battled the Bears in a much closer match in December only to lose 36-34, but that wasn't the case on Thursday.
"Bradley got after us as they were more ready than we were," he began, trying his best to subdue his anger and disappointment concerning an overall lackluster performance by his team.
"We won five matches, which is two less than last time. I'm disappointed. We had a few positives where kids did what they were asked and others who acted like they simply didn't care. We still have a lot of growing to do.
"I still feel like we have the better team, but we've yet to prove it. I was hoping it would be a better match," Morris concluded.
Caven Rogers gave the Bears an early 6-0 lead with a first-period pin at 138 while Lawrence Cotton evened the score with a pin for the Mustangs at 145.
Perhaps the best match of the evening took place at 152 where Bradley's Jacob Staton pulled out a 7-5 decision over Ryan Hager in overtime. Hager had a 2-0 lead after the first period and the difference was 4-2 after two.
Staton got to within one with an escape to start the third and then took a 5-4 lead with a takedown midway through the period, but Hager somehow escaped at the last second to force the overtime. Staton then got a takedown 13 seconds into the extra period to prevail.
Robbie Clark followed with a 14-4 major decision at 160 as the Bradley lead stretched to 13-6, but a 3-0 decision by Chase Gregory at 170 and a first-period pin by Chazz Fulford at 182 gave Walker Valley the upper hand at 15-13.
Alex Forgey then notched a 5-4 decision at 195 before Raulston gave the Mustangs their final lead with a second-period pin at 220.
Johnson's decision at 285 drew the Bears to within 21-19 while a technical fall by Toribio Navarro at 106 gave the Bears the lead for the last time.
Dyer Rose and Ream wrapped first-period pins around a 6-1 decision by Dakota Bromley as the Bears secured the win at that point.
BRADLEY 39, WALKER VALLEY 24
(Match started at 138 Pounds)
106 -- Toribio Navarro (BC) won by technical fall over Jordan Caylor, 5:40;
113 -- Dyer Rose (BC) pinned Jacob Stiles, 1:21;
120 -- Dakota Bromley (BC) dec. Braxton Brewer, 6-1;
126 -- Dakota Ream (BC) pinned Joseph Munoz, 1:45;
132 -- Tyrus Hamrick (WV) dec. Taylor Kazy, 6-1;
138 -- Caven Rogers (BC) pinned Devan Pruett, 1:08;
145 -- Lawrence Cotton (WV) pinned Colter McConnell, 3:08;
152 -- Jacob Staton (BC) dec. Ryan Hager, 7-5 in overtime;
160 -- Robbie Clark (BC) major dec. John Hayes, 14-4;
170 -- Chase Gregory (WV) dec. Eric Goins, 3-0;
182 -- Chazz Fulford (WV) pinned Nathan Adams, 1:24;
195 -- Alex Forgey (BC) dec. Ric Kennett, 5-4;
220 -- Billy Raulston (WV) pinned Zachery McFarland, 2:45;
285 -- J.J. Johnson (BC) dec. Walker Hood, 3-0.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)