Two undefeated basketball teams squared off at Boyd Buchanan Monday night, so you just had an early idea that it might be a pretty good game.
That was certainly the case as the host Buccaneers pulled away in the second half for an inspiring 72-67 win over the Walker Valley Mustangs at Jett Gymnasium.
The Bucs are now 6-0 while the Mustangs fall to 5-1.
“That was a real battle as Walker Valley has a really good team,” said Boyd Buchanan coach Josh Templeton shortly after the final horn sounded.
“They were really hard to stop at times as they are probably the best-shooting team we’ll play this year. I thought Jaylon Moore was the key for us as he defends so well around the goal. But we had a nice run there at the end using three point guards. We’ll have to line up and do it again tomorrow,” he said, knowing that CSAS will provide the opposition on Tuesday.
The Buccaneers have an experienced team with more than their share of seniors. Three of them scored in double figures to lead the victory parade, including Ryan Lopez with 24 points, Caden Johnson with 18 and Moore with 12.
“I thought we did a good job of communicating with each other and that was a key to winning, but we have a lot of experience on this team and that always helps. And those late free throws are always nice to have,” said Johnson afterward.
“That was a tough game for sure, but I felt like we played great as a team. It feels really good to beat a team as good as Walker Valley,” said the 6-7 Moore, who scored all of his points in the second half and even had a couple of crowd-thrilling dunks.
Walker Valley coach Will Campbell knows games like this will only make his team better.
“This game was a really good measuring stick for us, but we knew on the way down that it would be a war,” he said afterward.
“We fought hard for 32 minutes, but just came up a little bit short. We did a nice job shooting the ball in the first half, but Boyd did a great job of adjusting their defense and taking those open shots away. We still had some open looks in the second half, but just didn’t hit them,” Campbell added.
Lopez scored on a reverse layup at the end of the first quarter as the Bucs were ahead 11-9 at the first break.
The Mustangs, who hit 10 long shots for the game, had six in the second quarter, including two runs where they hit three straight, but it took two free throws from Cash Coates to give Walker Valley a 30-28 lead at intermission.
Coates sank two more charity tosses with 2:50 left in the third quarter to give Walker Valley its biggest lead of the game at 47-42 before the Bucs responded with a 6-0 run for a 48-47 lead with 3:08 showing following a putback by Moore.
Tayvon Barber scored on a drive down the lane with 1:10 left in the third for a 49-48 lead, but the Bucs finished the quarter with six of the final eight points for a 54-51 lead with one quarter remaining.
Moore scored on a layup with 5:12 remaining for Boyd’s biggest lead at 60-52 and that’s when the Bucs started taking time off the clock as Walker Valley was forced to foul.
The Bucs canned six of eight from the charity stripe in the last 98 seconds, including two from Moore with 10.4 seconds left and two from Lopez with 2.1 ticks remaining to secure the win.
While Lopez, Johnson and Moore led the Bucs with their double-figure scoring, Coates was one of three Walker Valley players in double figures with 18 points. Barber was next with 17 while Rodney Broadnax had 15.
Boyd Buchanan also had an unofficial 27-19 edge in rebounds as Johnson grabbed nine, Moore eight an Nathan Miller six. Coates was the Mustang leader with seven.
BOYD BUCHANAN GIRLS 52, WALKER VALLEY 38: The Lady Bucs led this game from start to finish and even opened up an 11-point lead early in the fourth quarter before the Lady Mustangs got within one. The Lady Bucs finished strong to win by 14 points.
Dani Reeves finished with 16 points to lead the Lady Bucs, now 3-3 for the season, while Sarah Durham was next with 14. Reeves also had seven rebounds and finished the game with three assists and two steals.
Riley Robertson only scored six points, but she dominated the glass with 14 rebounds.
Elissa Earls was the leading scorer for Walker Valley with a dozen points.
WALKER VALLEY 3 11 11 13 -- 38
BOYD BUCHANAN 10 12 11 19 – 52
WALKER VALLEY (38) – Pierce 6, Lonas, Poe 7, Littrell 2, Woods, Bischof 6, Elissa Earls 12, Warden 2, Cox 3.
BOYD BUCHANAN (52) – Barlew, Robertson 6, Winston 2, Sarah Durham 14, Sanders 8, Deloach 4, King 2, Dani Reeves 16, Burton.
3-POINT GOALS: Walker Valley 7 (Pierce 2, Poe, Bischof, Earls 2, Gox); Boyd Buchanan 3 (Durham 2, Robertson).
WALKER VALLEY 9 21 21 16 -- 67
BOYD BUCHANAN 11 17 26 18 -- 72
WALKER VALLEY (67) – Rodney Broadnax 15, Tayvon Barber 17, Brabson 8, G. Campbell, Taylor, Sausville 8, Smith, Cash Coates 18, B. Campbell 1.
BOYD BUCHANAN (72) – Miller 6, Caden Johnson 18, Reid 2, Jaylan Moore 12, Turnbow, Ryan Lopez 24 Gardenhire 3, Johnston 3, Hardaway 4.
3-POINT GOALS: Walker Valley 10 (Broadnax 3, Barber 3, Sausville 2, Coates 2); Boyd Buchanan 2 (Lopez 2).
RECORDS: Walker Valley 5-1 overall; Boyd Buchanan 6-0 overall.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)