Walker Valley Upsets Bradley Central In OT For Region 3AAAA Crown

Mustangs Gallop To To 73-66 Win

  • Friday, March 1, 2024
  • Alex McElyea

The Walker Valley Mustangs shocked the Bradley Central Bears in overtime on their home court inside Jim Smiddy Arena Thursday night to win the Region 3AAAA championship by a score of 73-66. The Bears, the District 6 champs, had beaten the Mustangs, the District 5 winners, 79-61, during a regular season matchup, and were seemingly the favorites in their own arena.

The Mustangs won the tip off and scored immediately from three. From then on the score was back and forth with both teams being able to respond. However, Bradley found their groove on defense and took off with the score. This led to them winning the first period of play 15-11.

Walker Valley struggled to keep up with the Bears due to an inability to keep possession. The first period was riddled with ball handling mistakes which kept them out of the paint. They were able to find hope early with their amazing ability to sink three pointers in transition.

Going into the second period, the Mustangs couldn’t hardly miss from the three-point line. They attacked quickly and forced Bradley Central to spread out. This ultimately opened up the inside and gave them an alley to the rim.

Bradley’s Tyrese Stovall was the main source of their offensive gameplan. Unfortunately, he came short of several buckets which gave the Mustangs a chance to capitalize on their misses. Walker valley went on an impressive run that gave them the lead at half, 28-27.

Caleb Sausville with 15 points led the Mustangs,as teammates Cash Coates hit for 14, Graham Campbell 11 and Ashton Davis finished with 11.

The Bears put four players in double figures with Stovall leading the way with 14, both Ramireon Taylor and Raheem Brownlow had 13, while Dee Reid and Jarrius Rogers had 10 each.

After the half, Bradley came back the court looking like a completely different team. They went at the Mustangs and were finding the net almost every possession. Tyrese Stovall, and the team as a whole, picked up the level of play and were dominate in the third period. They were able to hit threes consistently, which hadn’t happened at all in the first half. The Bears led the third period 49-41.

There is something special about the second period of each half for Walker Valley. They found a fire inside of them that wouldn’t let them lose. They fought harder and played better than they did up to this point. They were automatic all around the court. Everything seemed to go right for them.

The game went right up to the whistle, leaving the audience unsure who would win. Both the Mustangs and the Bears had convincing runs late in the game that could have won it for them, yet the other would come back and make up for it. There were multiple fouls, free throws, and last hope shots that ended the fourth period all squared up at 63 points.

The game entered a period of overtime that was four minutes long and would ultimately decide the game. Bradley Central started off strong, making a fight for victory. Then, out of nowhere, Walker Valley took control and shut the Bears offense down. The Mustangs forced more than a handful of fouls that took them to the free throw line over and over again. 

This was a game to remember with so many incredible stats and achievements from both sides. Walker Valley put up 33 points just from the three-point line which led to them taking a six-point deficit and turning it into a six-point lead… twice. On top of this, there was a total of eight lead changes, most of which came in the fourth period.

Both teams had an impressive number of rebounds, Walker Valley with 29 and Bradley Central with 36. Stovall had an outstanding second half filled with one block after another. He ended the game with eight blocks altogether. The most important stat for Walker Valley was the free throws. They went 10-13 at the free throw line, giving them the in at the end.

The Mustangs Head Coach, Will Campbell gave his thoughts after their championship win. He spoke highly of his players and was confident in the ability of his staff and team to do the job.

“That was one of the better games I’ve been apart of. It was just a slug fest back and forth from both teams. We were down late by a pretty good bit, maybe six, seven, or eight, with a couple minutes left. I really thought our guys made some good plays down the stretch. I never thought that the moment was too big for us. I always thought we responded well and battled. Tucker Campbell did a great job inside on Stovall. That was a big point of emphasis. I thought defensively we made it really hard for them to get what they wanted to get, and of course they did the same for us."

Coach Campbell emphasized this point especially after the game saying: “Tonight, that’s probably some of the best basketball that we have played definitely this year but the past even couple years I would say.”

Walker Valley will host LaVergne in a Class AAAA sectional next Monday night, while Bradley Central will be on the road to Region 4 champ Cookeville.

All-Region Team: (Bradley Central)De’Anthony Reid, Ramireon Taylor, and Jackson Ary; (Walker Valley) Turner Clayton, Tucker Campbell, Ashton Davis, and Cash Coates.

MVP: Cash Coates

SUMMARY

WALKER VALLEY 11 17 13 22 10 --73

BRADLEY CENTRAL 15 12 22 14 3 --66

Walker Valley (73) -- Caleb Sausville 15, Cash Coates 14, Graham Campbell 11, Ashton Davis 10, T. Campbell 9, Clayton 9, Shirk 5.

Bradley Central (66) -- Tyrese Stovall 14, Ramireon Taylor 13, Raheem Brownlow 13, Jarrius Rogers 10, De’Anthony Reid 10, Ballard 4, Ary 2.

3-point goals: Walker Valley 11 (Sausville 4, Coates 3, Clayton, Shirk, T. Campbell, G. Campbell); Bradley Central 5 (Rogers 2, Walker 2, Taylor).

(Email Alex McElyea at alexmcelyea26@gmail.com)

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