Competing in the Crunch

Last week was another busy week for your Raiders. After meeting Lassiter and Woodstock, both teams are in third place in region play. With the tournament on the horizon, the Raiders will look to improve their seeding as they meet their region opponents again.

The girls beat the Lassiter Trojans on Tuesday with a final score of 65-37. In the inaugural game of the new Lassiter gym, the girls played very well in an

extremely hostile environment. Junior Amber Miller scored 5 points of off the tipoff to force the Trojans into an early timeout, clearly rattling them. The Trojans rallied back, and at the end of the first quarter the score was 14-12, Raiders. At the beginning of the second quarter, Coach Kelterborn moved  to a full court press and saw immediate dividends with multiple steals leading to fast breaks. Tomisin Adenupe was one of the leaders on this press, stealing multiple passes at half court and driving them into the paint. Adenupe finished the game with 32 points, her season high. Senior Neusha Green was a dominant force in the paint, securing multiple offensive rebounds to create more possessions for her teammates. Neusha has shown a tremendous amount of growth since last year, as she is not only a stronger rebounder but is able to stay on the court for much longer periods of time, playing almost the entire game on Tuesday. On Friday, the Raiders lost to the 17-2 Woodstock Wolverines. Despite being down early, the Raiders were persistent and never gave up until the final buzzer. Junior Jacki Hecklinski played the majority of the second half and made a strong impact with her defense. She shut down multiple Wolverine fast breaks and played impressive defense against  Woodstock opposition. Jacki was also one of two Walton Raiders to be honored on Friday as part of the Winterfest court. Sophomore Lauren Tiffin also had a strong game, making multiple outside shots and drawing a few fouls on offense. Tiffin has shown growth since her varsity debut this season and played a good portion of Friday’s game because of her consistent offensive play. The Raider ladies will look to get back in the win column on Tuesday when they host the Etowah\. In the first matchup of the season, the Raiders bested the Eagles, 51-43.

Resilience was key this week for the Raider boys. They won a close game against the Trojans on Tuesday, 55-50. Against an extremely hostile Lassiter fan base, the boys fell behind 12-4 early. After a quick timeout by Coach Abney, the boys refocused, playing with more confidence on offense. Carson Adler hit two quick three pointers to swing the momentum in favor of the Raiders. His fellow teammate Dylan Pumpian hit a three pointer of his own later in the half, and after 2 quarters of play the Raiders were down 22-29. The Raiders needed a spark in the second half on the offensive end. Luka Avaliani stepped in a huge way for the Raiders, scoring 18 of his game high 26 points in the second half alone. Luka got to the basket and finished at the rim. The Raiders took the lead midway through the quarter, beating the Trojans on their defense and rebounding. Late in the game, Luka put the game out of reach by drawing fouls and making free throws. The Raiders held the Trojans in check offensively in the second half largely with the press they ran in the fourth quarter. Landon Hong stole the ball multiple times, clearly frustrating the Trojans and securing the win for the Raiders. On Friday against the Woodstock Warriors the boys won a thrilling overtime game, 60-56. The Raiders were on fire out of the gate, led by the three point shooting of David Sickles. David made shots early to draw Warrior defenders close out on him and, then, passed the ball off to his teammates for easy baskets. Freshman Pearce Spurlin had a solid game in his first as a starter, finishing with a near double double. Despite his young age, Pearce is a physical player under the basket, securing several rebounds over Woodstock defenders and putting them back up for layups. The game came down to the wire, with the Warriors up 50-49 with 30 seconds left. Pearce secured an offensive rebound off of a miss and put it back up and in for the lead. After Woodstock responded with a three point shot, Luka Avaliani drove to the basket and made a clutch layup to tie the game with four seconds left. In overtime, the Raiders sealed the game with excellent foul shooting, which has improved drastically throughout the year. In addition to Hecklinski, Raider Tripp Smith was a part of the Winterfest court. The Raiders will look to climb to number 2 in region as they host Etowah Tuesday. With much on the line, the Raiders will look to avenge their 49-52 loss to the Eagles earlier this season.

Come out and support your Raiders on Tuesday, beginning at 6:00!