In a District 5-3A basketball slugfest between what may be the two best teams in the league, East Hamilton got the go-ahead points on a steal-and-drive by Darwin Randolph in overtime and the Hurricanes defeated Walker Valley, 63-58, Tuesday night and handed the Mustangs their first loss of the season.
“We had to keep playing a smart basketball because Walker Valley is a very smart team,” East Hamilton coach Frank Jones said.
“We just kept fighting and our guys didn’t quit even though (the Mustangs) getting control and we missed some shots. In a couple of situations, we had position underneath the basket, but didn’t make a power move. But we finally pulled the game out.”
The Hurricanes cap a challenging week by hosting Bradley Central on Friday.
East Hamilton’s girls got a game-high 21 points from Madison Hayes in a 66-47 rout of Walker Valley.
The Hurricanes (9-2, 3-0) trailed by six points going into the fourth quarter rallied to tie the on Morrell Schramm’s two free throws with 10.4 second left, sending the game into overtime.
Walker Valley’s Blake Campbell drained a 3-pointer to start the extra four-minute period, but they turned out to be the team’s final points of the night.
“Their inside-outside stuff was a big threat,” said Cameron Montgomery, who had a game-high points. “In portions of the game, we’d get used to them shooting 3s and then they’d start driving the ball on us. It was frustrating at times and we just had to man-up and play strong defense.
“It’s a really good win for us and puts us at the top of the league and we have Bradley Friday night.”
Thirty-one seconds later, Schramm, who finished with 15 points, made two free throws and the Canes trailed by a single point.
A Mustang turnover led to a Randolph layup resulting from his stead near midcourt. Jamaal Walker was fouled after another Walker Valley turnover, but he missed both free throws with 61 seconds remaining. Walker scored 16 points.
East Hamilton’s Samuel Randolph blocked Alex Duke’s layup at the other end and Walker drew a foul on a close-in shot from the lane. On the front end of a one-and-one, Walker’s shot bounced on the rim three times before falling through. He calmly sank the second attempt and East Hamilton pushed the lead to 61-58.
Walker Valley’s (No. 20) missed a 3-pointer – the Mustangs made eight in the game – and Cameron Montgomery made 1 of 2 free throws at the 12.7-second mark. Montgomery scored a game-high 19 points.
Fouled again with 8.6 second left, Montgomery again made one of two attempts to seal the Canes’ important five-point victory.
East Hamilton, which tied the series at 7-7 with the win, jumped out to an 11-0 lead and was up 19-10 after the first quarter ended. Of Walker Valley’s next seven shots, five were 3s and the Canes trailed by 31-27 at halftime.
Jordan Monck’s layup gave the Mustangs (8-1, 3-1) a 39-32 advantage midway through the third period and the visitors were up 49-43 heading to the fourth.
Noah Dupree canned a short bank shot and the Canes were in a six-point hole. East Hamilton scored six straight points to knot the game at 51-all.
Dupree came back with two free throws.
Samuel Randolph answered with a fade-away jumper.
That man again, Dupree, calmly hit two free throws.
Schramm duplicated those charity tosses with 10. 4 seconds left in regulation.
Walker Valley called a timeout with 4.6 seconds on the clock. One of the officials told he clock operation to make the time left five seconds.
The Mustangs’ final shot of the fourth quarter was off the mark.
“I think East Hamilton is a great ballclub,” Walker Valley coach Will Campbell said. They started out aggressive. I thought we had the game at the end of regulation, but we look forward to seeing them again in about a month.
“This was our first loss, but we weren’t going to go 35-0 anyway. We wanted to compete tonight, and we did that.”
Dupree paced the Mustangs with 17 points, Monck had 15 and Duke added 10 points.
East Hamilton girls 66, Walker Valley 47: The girls’ contest was ragged, the shooting was less than spectacular and officiating left players and coaches shacking their heads in huge chunks of the game. Even the final score was in doubt for more than an hour.
Finally, the home scorebook was corrected the Lady Hurricanes (7-3, 2-1) came away with the 19-point victory.
“We lost our focus right from the get-go,” Lady Canes coach Hunter Gremore said. “One of the refs said three of our starters (Madison Hayes, McKenna Hayes and Elizia Laboo were told to leave the floor prior to the opening tip because their uniform shorts were rolled at the waist.
Apparently rattled by the move, the Lady Canes managed just four points in the first four minutes all while the Lady Mustangs missed their first eight shots.
East Hamilton used a 10-run to stretch its lead to 40-25 with 3:22 left in the third quarter. Madison Hayes had five points – all free throws – during the spurt.
Immediately after the Lady Canes’ Anaya Evans dropped a 3-point midway through the run Walker Valley coach Paul Cretton was hit with a technical foul. Hayes hit two free throws and on the ensuing possession, she made two more.
East Hamilton cruised the rest of the way, dropping Walker Valley to 2-5 overall and 1-2 in the district.
Dezah Lacy and McKenna Hayes each had 12 points for the Lady Canes. Hayes’ points came on four 3s.
East Hamilton gets another crack at beating Bradley Central’s Bearettes in the opening game Friday night. The Bearettes have won all 14 games in the short series with the Lady Canes, who shouldn’t feel too bad about the lack of success versus coach Jason Reuter’s Bradley powerhouse. McMinn County, Ooltewah and Soddy-Daisy are a combined 0-56 against the Bearettes.
Abbey Davis paced Walker Valley with 13 points.
Walker Valley 10 21 18 6 3 – 58
East Hamilton 19 8 16 12 8 – 63
Walker Valley (58) –Jordan Monck 15, Alex Duke 10, Wallace 2, Noah Dupree 17, Campbell 6, Dans 6, Smith 2, Berger, Belan.
East Hamilton (63) –Jamaal Walker 16, Cameron Montgomery 19, Morrell Schramm 13, S. Randolph 9, Long 2, D. Randolph 4, Crawford.
3-Point Goals – Walker Valley 8 (Dupree 3, Campbell 2, Monck 1, Duke 1), East Hamilton 3 (Montgomery 2, Walker 1).
Contact Larry Fleming at email@example.com and on Twitter @larryfleming44)