One Last Hoorah

Welcome back Raiders! Hope you enjoyed your day off this week. In this final week of regular season play, Walton Raiders Basketball is ready for one last hoorah this Friday night.
As they have throughout this season, our girls fought hard last Friday night, delivering a down-to-the buzzer thriller (and heartbreaker) against the Lassiter Trojans. Our girls were down 28-38 at the end of the third quarter but clawed their way back into the game, making it competitive until the buzzer sounded on a 40-45 loss. Freshman Liz Williams was an offensive weapon, making an impact on the perimeter and down low.
Our boys tested the Trojans for the 2nd time this season, winning 60-52. It looks as though these teams will meet yet again in the region tournament, so the boys have not seen the last of the hated Trojans. Junior Toni Adenupe had a big day, scoring 16 points in the win. Toni toyed with Lassiter defenders, taking them to the rim possession after possession. Sophomore Landon Hong also contributed, collapsing the defense and then swinging the ball out to his open shooters. It looks as though these teams will meet yet again in the region tournament, so the boys have not seen the last of the hated Trojans.
This Friday night, our girls will play their final regular season game against the Woodstock Wolverines. In addition, seniors Emma Landroche and Ashley McDonald will play their last game in the Pit. Throughout this season, Emma has blazed a trail for her teammates at Walton. She has been in essence another coach for the Raiders, instructing and helping her team find its way on the floor. A consistent starter for the girls, Emma is a versatile offensive piece and makes a huge contribution on the defensive end of the court. Ashley McDonald will also play her final game in the Pit. Ashley is an outstanding softball player committed to Princeton. On the basketball court she is a standout guard, able to contribute on both the offensive and defensive ends, playing with a high competitive edge. Come out and send Emma and Ashley off in their final home game, Friday at 6:00. 
Our boys have two seniors on the team this season, Frank Muoka and Jordan Krueger. Frank has played strong down low all season, grabbing rebounds and fighting strong in the post on offense. He is a fantastic rim protector as well, giving opposing players plenty reason to stay out of the paint. Jordan Krueger has led this team throughout the season. He leads the Raiders in scoring but also is tremendous on the defensive end. Jordan also gives the young players someone to look to when they are confused. Come out and celebrate Frank and Jordan, Friday at 7:30 in the Pit vs. Woodstock!
With the season coming to a close, this Friday marks not only the end of the regular season but also the end of an era for Raider basketball. The Raiders will play the last two basketball games in the Pit, as the new gym will be open next season. Come and send your seniors, and gym, off right on Friday!

Meet David Sickles…

These days, distractions are everywhere. A competitive fire, passion, and determination are required to overcome the excuses and succeed. Walton’s David Sickles has all of these traits and is here not only to be a success but also to be himself.
David has been in the Walton basketball program since 6th grade and has played on the varsity team since his sophomore season. He recalls a game from his sophomore year when he hit four three pointers in 90 seconds to force overtime at Etowah, and Walton went on to win the game. What sets David apart is his obvious drive to win. He gives whatever it takes to bring home a victory for the Raiders. David says basketball has taught him that, if you really put your mind to it, your hard work will pay off.
David says that his role model is his grandfather, who he looks to in all aspects of life. His advice to younger students at Walton is to stay on top of your schoolwork before you worry about anything else. Take it from a two-sport athlete at Walton; David makes plays on the baseball diamond as well as the basketball court.
This season, David has made this basketball team not only fun to watch but also competitive and strong. The future shines bright for junior David Sickles.

Game On!

Happy Friday Raiders! Another week in the season has come and gone, and our Raiders are drawing close to the the end. With the boys’ tournament upcoming, they are gaining steam towards another state tournament birth under Coach Abney.
A tough loss for our girls, who faced the eighth-ranked team in the state on Tuesday, was followed by victory for the boys, 53-44. With his regular season career almost in the books, it was another fantastic game for Jordan Krueger, who finished with 21 points. Senior Frank Muoka is heating up heading into tournament play, doing an excellent job with his rim protection and soft touch around the basket.  Recently, our Raider Boys have given it their all on the defensive end, specifically in their half court trap, forcing many turnovers which lead to fast break points. With almost two years with Coach Abney’s leadership, the Raiders look ahead to tonight’s game at Lassiter High School vs the Trojans. The girls open at 6:00 and boys follow at 7:30. Show up and show out for your Raiders!

Who’s Behind Hoop News?

Hoops News is the creation of Evan Crowell, made possible by  the Walton Raiders Basketball program. Evan, a freshman at Walton, began pursuing his passion for sports journalism and analysis at Dickerson Middle School as a reporter for the Dickerson Times. Hoping to continue developing his craft at Walton, Evan partnered with the Walton Tip-Off Club to recognize and promote the student athletes who are Walton Raiders Basketball.

In addition to his work on Hoop News, Evan coaches a youth basketball team and has provided game commentary at East Marietta Basketball. He also is an active member of the Catholic Church of St Ann, where he first learned the game, and a member of the Walton Leadership Club.

Hoop News would not be possible without the support of Coach Bo Abney, Coach Matt Kelterborn, Amy Hecklinski, and Tom Wideman. Thank you for the opportunity and, most of all, thank you to the student athletes who give us the stories.

Meet Jordan Krueger…

Senior, Jordan Krueger

Every kid has dreams about playing in the bright lights, on the biggest stage, and being the best of the best, yet very few ever reach that point. Walton’s own Jordan Krueger has made his dream a reality.

Krueger has played basketball since he was 4 years old and was in the Walton basketball feeder program as just a 5th grader! To push his game, he continued to play at the next level. When he was a freshman on Junior Varsity, he hit a game winner against the hated Pope Greyhounds. Krueger says what he loves about the game is that it’s always there for him, that whether he’s mad, sad, or happy, he can always go and play the game he loves. Krueger is committed to play basketball at Sewanee: The University of the South. Though college ball is challenging, with the practices, classes, and tutoring, he has been taught by the game of basketball itself that, when adversity hits, hit back harder. 
Krueger advises younger athletes and students at Walton that school is bigger then basketball, and that school work should be the first priority. He says that he has given some thought to becoming a coach himself after college, passing on his knowledge and love for the game.
Whether he is hitting threes or the books, Krueger seems persistent and diligent at his craft. His desire to be the best at what he does is obvious even in conversation; being average is not an option, yet his humility makes him easy to know. Jordan Krueger is blazing a trail for future Walton basketball players and athletes.

The Stars of Tomorrow

Welcome back Raiders! And thank you for showing up in a big way for our Raiders Friday night. A packed Pit was the scene of Winter Fest fun for a season high number of Raider fans. Our young Raiders continued to gain valuable experience against the Hornets in the night’s contests.
The final score of the girls game was 52-66, Hornets. Even with the girls influx of youth, our Raiders put up a tough fight, while showing traits beyond their years. Tomisin Adenupe, the team’s leading scorer on the season thus far, finished the game with 26 points, putting on a clinic in the low post. Sophomore Jacki Hecklinski also played a big role for Coach Kelterborn, being a lockdown perimeter defender and generating steals to spurn fast breaks. The Lady Raiders have an away game at Cherokee High School on Tuesday starting at 6:00. With the girls playing a tough Warriors team, we need you to come support just as you did at Winter Fest and help bring it to the Cherokee Warriors!
The Hornets topped our boys Friday with a final score of 52-57. Sophomore Luka Avaliani had another impressive performance with 18 points as the buzzer rang. Luka has seen an astounding jump in his play this season, as he has evolved into a true point guard, finding his teammates off of strong drives, and becoming an on court leader. Sophomore Dylan Pumpian continued his impressive season, making another three shots from deep in the loss. The boys play Cherokee at 7:30 on Tuesday at Cherokee. The last time these two met your Raiders walked away with a 53-40 win. The boys will need all of Raider Nation to come out and support them Tuesday!
With the regular season coming to a near close, it has been encouraging to see the development of the younger players in this program. Come out and watch our Raiders battle the Warriors Tuesday at Cherokee High School starting at 6:00!

Winter Is Here

Hello Raider Nation! Heading into this holiday weekend, our Raiders have some big games that we need to show up and shout out for as well as some fan fun you don’t want to miss. Tonight, our Lady Raiders take on conference rivals Roswell Hornets at 6 PM in the Pit, followed by the boys. Between games, the 2019 Winterfest court will be announced at center court!
Both teams will be looking to rebound after a disappointing night of games at Etowah on Tuesday. Our Lady Raiders came up short, 39-60. Sophomore Tomisin Adenupe had an outstanding second half, scoring 13 points while shredding anyone that stood in her path. Our girls have shown a scrappy side as of late, fearlessly confronting formidable defenses. 
The boys had a tough 4th quarter against Etowah Tuesday, resulting in a 35-46 loss. Junior David Sickles continues to play well in his return to action, hitting 5 three pointers. Junior Cole Morris threw one down yet again Tuesday, soaring over Etowah defenders for a big time slam.  The boys look to raise their conference win percentage over .500 Friday against the Hornets.
So, with two important games, show your Raider spirit and wear white tonight. Let’s bring a blizzard inside against the rival Hornets. Tip offs at 6 and 7:30. Rise Up Raiders!

Heat of the Schedule

Hello again Raider Nation! Our Raiders continued fighting into their region play, with the heat of the schedule coming up.

Our Raider girls lost a tough game against Woodstock this weekend, 39-69.  A talented Woodstock team brought its all against us, but our girls walked away with a few bright spots. Junior Emily Lee finished with 13 points and was on fire from beyond the arc throughout the game. Neusha Green battled hard against the Wolverines in the paint on both ends of the court, never giving up the entire game. The girls need Raider Nation now more then ever, as they face tough region opponents in the upcoming weeks, so come out and support our Raider girls!

Our boys won a close one against the Woodstock Wolverines, 54-52. Star shooting guard David Sickles returned to the lineup this week, after suffering a hand injury that kept him out for over a month. David led the team in scoring with 19 points and 6 three pointers. Junior Cole Morris had 7 points and had an emphatic dunk to end the first half, which got the crowd onto its feet! With a 3-2 record in region now, this is the time of the season when fan support can make all the difference. Our boys need you to come out and support them as they represent!

So don’t wait to read about it. Be there on Tuesday as our Raiders travel to Etowah, 6 PM tipoff.

Teams hitting their stride…

Welcome back Raiders! I hope that your week went as well as the Walton Basketball program’s did! These teams seem to be hitting their stride at the right point in the season, with a slew of region games upcoming!
The Lady Raiders gave a beatdown to the Trojans Tuesday, coming away with a 65-42 win! Sophomore Tomisin Adenupe had 19 points in the blowout win, attacking the basket with ease. Emma White excelled in her first varsity action, finishing with 4 points and making it difficult for the helpless Trojan defenders to guard her. Recently, we have seen Coach Kelterborn and the team throw a half court trap at opposing offenses, which has proved effective as of late, generating many steals and fastbreak points. With this win, the girls hope to start a win streak Friday vs. the Woodstock Wolverines. Don’t miss the girls try to even up their record at 9-9 Friday at Woodstock High School starting at 6 PM!
The boys continued their streak of dominance, demolishing the Trojans 75-50. Your boys tallied their highest point total of the season, with 5 Raiders scoring double figure in points. Senior Jordan Krueger yet again led the Raiders in scoring with 16 points. It proved to be a big week for Krueger, who announced he will be playing basketball at the University of Sewanee for college! Congrats Jordan. In other news, junior Toni Adenupe scored in bunches off of the bench, finishing with 11 points with highlight moves around the basket. Pete Gbenle put an exclamation point on the night with a crossover that brought the crowd to its feet. The boys play Woodstock Friday at 7:30 at Woodstock. They are seeking a winning record in region at 3-2.
What a week for Walton! As they look for more wins this weekend, the program needs all of Raider Nation to come out and support this weekend as they charge into battle!

A New Years Resolution

Welcome back Raiders! With the season now in full swing, I hope everyone’s New Years resolution is to come out and support your Walton basketball teams as they head into region play! Even when they are down they will give you something to cheer about.
On Saturday, every Raider girl chipped in and played a role for the team. Sophomore Tomisin Adenupe led the way with 9 points and Junior Neusha Green chipped in on the boards, fighting against North Cobb defenders for rebounds. There seemed to be little drop-off when the bench entered the game, which will serve the girls well when they seek their first region win on Tuesday against Lassiter. Looking to revenge a 65-37 loss against North Cobb, the girls will host the Trojans in the Pit at 6:00. Come support the girls as they take on the rival Trojans!
It proved to be a magical night for Senior Jordan Krueger on Saturday, as he led the charge against North Cobb with 30 points. Krueger made 6 three point shots, and he seems to be playing his best basketball of the season, as he made all tournament first team in the Pope Invitational Holiday tournament. To see what you missed from his night click HERE. Sophomore Luka Avaliani also chipped in with 10 points, driving to the basket seemingly at ease. The boys look to even up their region record at 2-2 when they take on the Lassiter Trojans at 7:30 in the Pit.
With big games Tuesday night, resolve to do your part and help the Raiders defeat the hated rival Lassiter Trojans.