On to State

The Raider boys are on to the state tournament! Despite a loss to Cherokee on Friday, the program made significant strides this season, opening the year to one of the best starts in team history, finishing third in the region, and becoming the first Raider team in the region championship since the 1989 season. This team has been determined to compete since they took the floor in the fall and Friday’s game was no exception.

Despite the pressure of facing a Warrior team with only four losses this season, the Raiders did not waver. They held the Warriors in check on offense, playing aggressive man to man defense and boxing out larger Warrior players. The Raiders’ ability to limit offensive rebounds and second chance points was important. Toni Adenupe lead the rebounding effort for the team, being very physical with the Cherokee centers down low, refusing to let them establish position in the post and keeping them from being able to get loose balls. When the Raiders play the stronger teams in Georgia during the state tournament, limiting these second chance points and possessions will be critical.

Also important will be their ability to create extra possessions and capitalize on them. Before the game, Coach Abney encouraged his players to “control what you can control. Dive on loose balls, make the extra pass. One of the key things in basketball is to win the battle of possessions. Every possession is a new opportunity, so create opportunities for yourself.” On Friday, Carson Adler did this very well, grabbing two offensive rebounds and putting them in for layups early in the game to give the Raiders the lead. Carson also had two other opportunities off of rebounds, making two jump shots and forcing a Cherokee timeout. David Sickles had a big region tournament, playing his best basketball of the season after a second team all region selection this year. David has led this team in the postseason, helping everyone with their assignments on the court and creating opportunities for teammates. Heading into the state tournament, the team will look to David, Toni, and Cole Morris for senior leadership.

All of these seniors will be playing in their third straight state tournament under Coach Abney, which will start on Friday at 7:30 vs. East Coweta. East Coweta finished second in Region 2-AAAAAAA just behind Wheeler, so this promises to be an exciting game. Make sure to come out to Walton on Friday to support your Raiders as they begin a promising run in the state tournament.

Despite the loss, the program made significant strides this season, opening the year to one of the best starts in team history, finishing third in the region, and becoming the first Raider team in the region championship since the 2010 season. This team has been determined to compete since they took the floor in the fall and Friday’s game was no exception.

The Future is Bright…

2019-2020 CCJBC Tournament

All Walton JR Raider Basketball teams made the tournament–read all about it here…

6th Grade Girls: This team is headed to the FINAL FOUR where they will face #2 seed Creekview at the Cobb Civic Center Sat., Feb. 15th at 9:00am.

6TH GRADE GIRLS

First Round–Beat Chattahoochee 26-9 to advance to the Sweet 16; Second Round (Sweet 16)–Beat Etowah 37-13 to advance to the Elite 8; Third round (Elite 8)–Defeat #1 seed Langston Hughes 19-15.  Earlier in the season our 6th Grade Girls lost a tough one to Langston Hughes 40 -14…but NOT this time!  The 6th Grade Girls team defeated Langston Hughes 19-14 to advance to the Final Four! It was a battle from start to finish. Our girls came out a little nervous and went down 5-0, but gained their composure and confidence and fought back. The game was back and forth within a point or tied all night.  The refs were letting the Panthers foul us pretty hard and we had several girls get hurt and knocked out of the game. They did not stay out long and came back to have big games.  The entire team played really hard-nosed, tough basketball on defense and on the boards. The entire team was cheering and supportive of one another.  Coach McMasters had to be out of town and his Assistant, Coach Kim Clark, did an awesome job coaching.  Down the stretch our girls showed great confidence and toughness with the ball. The Panthers were all over us in a desperate attempt to get the ball back. Our ball toughness earned us four foul shots at the end of the game and we made 3 out of 4 to seal the victory and beat a tough #1 seed.

6th Grade Boys: First Round–Lost to a tough Creekview team with a dominant big man.

7th Grade Girls: First Round–Win and advance to Sweet 16; Second Round (Sweet 16)–Lost to a #1 seed Cherokee.

7th Grade Boys: First Round–Beat River Ridge to advance to the Sweet 16; Second Round (Sweet 16)–Lost to #2 seed Lambert.

8th Grade Girls: First Round–As an #8 seed take #1 seed Pope to the limit, but lost a close one by 2.

8th Grade Boys: First Round–Head to the Sweet 16 with a 21 point win over Chattahoochee; Second Round (Sweet 16)–Win at the buzzer with a 3 point shot to advance to the Elite 8; Third Round (Elite 8)–Due to snow, had to play two games in same day and lost in the Elite 8 to a tough Pope team in our second game.

Final Four

After a decisive win over the Lassiter Trojans in the region tournament on Tuesday, your Raider boys march on to take on the Etowah Eagles tonight at 8:30. The boys showed all indications on Tuesday of making a strong tournament run and the ability to compete with anyone.

The boys defeated the Trojans 64-44. The Raiders opened up the game attacking, opening up a 23-0 lead. They were able to find open shooters repeatedly on this run, and there was no hesitation from the shooters at all. Carson Adler was one of these shooters, attacking the Trojans and creating separation on his shots from the tip. Carson continued his play into the second half and ended with 14 points on the game. David Sickles once again continued his role as a senior playmaker, finding his own shots but helping orchestrate the offense as well. If the Raiders want to make a region championship run on Friday, the team will need David not only to hit big shots but lead others on the floor.

It was the Raider defense that really impressed Tuesday night. The team had a new level of intensity on that end of the floor, playing as a collective unit. Throughout the night, the Raiders were calling out ball screens and playing help defense. Landon Hong helped lead this effort, locking down the best Lassiter player for the entirety of the gamer. Landon sparked the team’s big first quarter run by disrupting the Trojan offense and being a nuisance to Lassiter ball handlers. Most importantly, the Raiders worked as one on Tuesday. Before the game, Coach Abney said to the team, “We have all the talent to win this game. Lassiter is going to come out with a fire though, and when things get tough you guys have to rally together and pick each other up.” As the Trojans threatened to cut the lead to single digits midway through the second quarter, the team did rally and came of a timeout with a renewed passion, attacking the basket and covering all of their defensive assignments.

The tournament continues tonight against Etowah. A win against the Eagles not only will mean that the Raiders will play for the region championship but also earn the opportunity to host their first state playoff game in 40 years. To get there, the Raiders need everything they’ve worked for this season including your support. Now is the time for all Raider faithful to come out tonight!

Home Court Advantage

The regular season is in the books for your Walton Raiders. Before the tipoff of the region tournament on Tuesday, let’s take a look at how the Raiders played Friday night just ahead of their biggest games of the year.
 
In Friday’s game against Woodstock, Tomisin Adenupe played an all around game, driving to the basket and finishing at the rim but also protecting the basket and swatting away multiple Wolverine shots. Fellow forward Liz Williams finished the night with 17 points. Williams was able to keep the Wolverine defense honest in the first half by making multiple jump shots and then driving to the basket on fast breaks in the second half. One of girls’ assets in the 55-62 loss was converting steals and rebounds into fast break opportunities, making the Wolverines play at their pace. When the Raiders play in the tournament this upcoming week, this is one thing that they will want to do; when they have pushes game play to their pace this season, they have competed with any team in the region. Despite a loss the first time they played the Wolverines this season, the Raiders played their own game Friday and were always in the game, even leading after the 3rd quarter. The girls showed that they are ready to make a deep run in the region tournament. Their road begins Tuesday at 7:00 against the Etowah Eagles.
 
The boys defeated the Wolverines on Friday, 46-40. Dylan Pumpian led the boys with 14 points on the night. Dylan gave the Raiders a spark early in the second quarter, scoring on three straight possessions to reclaim the lead for the Raiders. David Sickles also provided veteran leadership on the floor, scoring 12 points but, more importantly, playing an excellent game in the defensive end, holding his matchup in check throughout the game. Cole Morris played an outstanding game on the defensive end, securing multiple rebounds over Woodstock opposition and swatting away their shots at the rim. With this win, the Raiders showed they have the ability to win low-scoring, defensive games. Many teams in the region thrive on this, and the boys look ready to compete with anyone in the tournament. They will host the Lassiter Trojans on Tuesday at 5:30 at Walton.
 
On Saturday, the all-region teams were announced. Tomisin Adenupe and Luka Avaliani were selected to the first team, David Sickles was selected to the second team, and Neusha Green was an honorable mention. Congratulations Raiders! Thank you for representing Walton well!
 
Walton is hosting the region tournament beginning Tuesday, so do your part to represent by showing up for your Raiders at 5:30 and 7:00 as the road to the state playoffs begins.