Coming Soon

Basketball season is almost here! Your Raiders officially closed out the fall league in Thursday’s contest. While tryouts are still to come, it’s clear that Walton is preparing for a compelling region run.

In a 55-56 finish against Walker High School, Walton alum and former Clemson basketball standout Tom Wideman was at the helm for your Raiders. With junior point guard Luka Avaliani absent, it was senior Toni Adenupe who carried the responsibilities of floor general. Adenupe has always been an athletic, crafty finisher around the basketball, but, this year, his court vision and play decisions are noticeable. In a game highlights, Toni received the ball at the top of the key, and, instead of taking a shot himself, he chose the extra pass, looking off a Walker defender and firing a bullet to Cole Morris for an easy layup. Cole once again impressed, leading the Raiders in scoring with 14 points. A key change this year for Morris has been his uptick in aggression, and it was certainly evident as he threw off Walker defenders for multiple put-back opportunities. Junior Landon Hong also did a good job of directing traffic in half court sets and set up plays for the Raiders by making extra passes and attacking at the right time. 
The Raiders this year will look to open up the court and play as a unit, which will ultimately prove to create a more effective offense. At times last season, there was a feeling of hesitancy as players seemed to wait on playmakers. This year, the Raiders will be looking to control the pace of the game. With many young players with a year of varsity experience, they are dictating the tempo and looking to set up the offense. Many points will be generated from spacing the floor, allowing the ball handler to dump it into a big, drive and kick to the open shooter or take it all the way themselves. 
Defensive intensity also seems strong, and a few players make their way onto the court because of their defensive effort and hustle. Junior Alex Packman put up a strong fight against the Walker defenders, battling hard for rebounds and loose balls. Though Alex may not be bigger then some of the giants that roam in the paint, his intensity and passion to get the ball back for his team distinguishes him. The aggressiveness of junior Tripp Smith also stands out on defense. On the junior varsity squad last season, Smith developed a reputation as a strong finisher who isn’t afraid of contact.
Tryouts for Raider basketball are upcoming, and final rosters will be announced on October 23.  Make sure to mark your calendars for November 7th when the 2019-20 Raider team will scrimmage Pope. There, we will meet our Raiders and have a glimpse of what they will do this upcoming season!

A New Season Coming

Raider Faithful, basketball is almost here! With the fall league coming to a close the next week, here are some standout performances against River Ridge that should have you ready for another season of Raider basketball.
In a 45-55 loss, the Raiders were a little undermanned on Thursday night, as they have yet not finalized a roster, and some of last year’s contributors, including junior standout Luka Avaliani, were not present. That did not stop the Raiders from putting together a solid night’s work. Although head coach Coach Bo Abney was in the stands for this game, the team’s play, directed by Coach Bryan Morris, reflected Abney’s emphasis over the past two years. One notable adjustment from last year is the extra pass that some players are making. On many occasions, instead of settling for a shot, a player would pass to create a great shot for another teammate. 
The Raiders had several sophomores play meaningful minutes last year, and while a learning curve is still seen at times, chemistry is building for these players. The high scorer of the night was junior swingman Carson Adler with 14 points, who has shown noticeable growth from last year. Adler has expanded his offensive arsenal and is now showing the potential to be a complete scorer on all three levels. Junior Dylan Pumpian provided a number of big threes, and all of Raider Nation should know how fast Dylan can catch fire. In his first varsity start last year, Dylan erupted for 18 points, including four three pointers. 
As for the veterans of the team, senior David Sickles, seems to have stepped into leadership very nicely and will look to have a big season. David created many shots for himself but was also vocal and kept the team on course when they were down by as many as 14 points. Fellow senior Cole Morris was dominant in the low post, finishing with an easy double double. With Franklin Muoka leaving your Raiders this offseason for college, Cole will have to step into the role as the starting big man this year, and he showed he is more then capable of it. Without any hesitancy under the basket, he finished strong and commanded double teams from the River Ridge defenders to open up shooters. Keep an eye on this strategy for the Raiders this season. In the past, they have dumped the ball in to a big to set up action off of it, whether it be a backside cut or quickly swinging the ball around the perimeter to shooters. 
The Raiders will open the season with a scrimmage against the Pope Greyhounds on November 7th, so mark your calendars and make sure to come and support your Raiders!