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.

Senior Spirit

Your Raiders played great basketball last week in preparation for the region tournament, where they hope to clinch a state playoff spot.

The girls lost to the Cherokee Warriors on Tuesday. Senior Neusha Green was able to put up a near double-double, fighting hard in the paint against Warrior defenders for rebounds and putback layups. Green has played well in the both games against the Warriors this season, which could be key if the two teams find themselves playing each other in the region tournament. Freshman Cici Childers also played well against the Warriors, succeeding in running the half-court offense and breaking traps when the Warrior defense threw them at her. Childers was able to find teammates open for midrange jump shots multiple times when she drove to the basket as well. Friday the girls honored their seniors with a 73-35 defeat of Lassiter. In their best offensive showing of the season, Emily Lee led the Raiders with 23 points on the night. Lee also had six three pointers on the night, and when she was subbed out received a standing ovation for her hard work for the program over the years. Her fellow senior Neusha Green also played a strong game, scoring 9 points and battling down low as she has for the entirety of her Walton career. Green also received a standing ovation as she subbed out for the last time in the game.  The Raider girls have played their best basketball over the back half of the season, and just played their best game of the year ahead of the region tournament. While they have played some tough games this year in region, they have consistently bounced back in their next matchup and have showed that, whenever they step on the court, they have a chance to win the game.

Despite a loss, the Raiders showed great improvement on Tuesday from their last matchup against the Cherokee Warriors. Much of this can be attributed to their ball movement. The team consistently swung the ball around the perimeter to find open shooters, and in the second half, was able to swing the ball inside as a result. Carson Adler was often one of those shooters on the perimeter, making four three point shots in the game and leading the Raiders in scoring for the night. Carson was able to start the second half strong for the Raiders, making threes on back to back possessions to cut the lead to single digits and swing the momentum in favor of the Raiders. Dylan Pumpian also found success against the Warriors, scoring 11 points on the game. Pumpian was not only a spot up shooter; he also put the ball on the floor multiple times and created space to free himself up to take a shot. The boys defeated Lassiter in their senior night as well, 67-43.  Pearce Spurlin was able to open up the game in a big way, jumping over a Trojan defender for a put back layup. Spurlin also had a big presence in the lane, swatting away multiple Trojan shot attempts and affecting other shots. Luka Avaliani lead the Raiders in scoring, finishing with 19 points. Luka also had 3 straight and-ones in the 4th quarter, sealing the game for the Raiders. All of our Raider seniors found success in their last home regular season game as Raiders. Toni Adenupe scored in double figures, slicing through the lane and finishing through contact for layups. David Sickles finished with 12 points, making big shots when needed to slow the Trojan momentum. David’s last points came midway through the third when, off a pass from the elbow, he took a three from well beyond the line and sunk it to extend the lead to 20 points. Cole Morris put the exclamation mark on the night when he took one dribble from the foul line and threw down a powerful dunk over a hopeless Lassiter defender. 

Both teams will finish the regular season this Friday on the road against Woodstock. The girls will start at 6:00, followed by the boys. Be there to support your Raiders!

Carson Adler: Competitive Edge

Successful basketball players need preparation and skill to distinguish themselves on the basketball court. They also need confidence. Confidence to step up and make big plays when needed. Junior Carson Adler has demonstrated his preparation, skill, and confidence this season, making big plays for the Raiders multiple times this year.

The Walton Basketball program started preparing Carson when he was in sixth grade and began reaping the benefit of that preparation in his sophomore year when he began logging minutes for the varsity team. His favorite basketball memory is that first varsity game against Osborne. Adler says he enjoys the dynamic between players during the games, hitting big shots, diving on loose balls, trash talk, and ultimately, coming out a winner. The Raiders have looked to Adler multiple times this season when they were down and were in need of a basket. Against Lassiter, the Raiders trailed by 10 against an extremely hostile Trojan crowd. Adler then scored 8 points in a row and was not fazed by the crowd at all. Against Cherokee, the region leader this season, Carson made two big fourth quarter shots as well as a few free throws to keep the game close and competitive. Carson explains that over the summer it was important to him to grow as a player because “sophomore year was about learning and just getting the varsity experience. Now, as a junior, I feel like I have to step up and help the underclassmen by showing what hard work can do for you.” One of his goals this summer was to improve his shot because “defenses in high school play very physical and tight. It’s important to have a good shot so that when you get any separation you can step into it and know that it’s going in.” The Raiders currently have nine juniors on the team, and Adler loves their chemistry on the floor: “A lot of us grew up playing basketball together, so it comes natural to us when we are out there. Then we have the other grades working and when we get on the floor it just feels natural and fun.”

When he is not working on or playing basketball, Carson enjoys hanging out with friends and playing video games. He stresses the importance of not only being an athlete but putting in work in the classroom to younger kids: “Today that can get taken for granted but, at Walton, we get a great opportunity for school and we need to capitalize on that.” Adler says that his role model in life is his Dad, because, “I wouldn’t be in basketball without my dad. He is really passionate about the game and helped me get into it from a really young age. More important than that though, he shows me how to be a good person and how to do things in the everyday world.”

Preparation. Skill. Confidence. See it in action with Carson Adler on the floor for your Walton Raiders.

Looking for a Strong Finish

Despite a loss to Etowah on Tuesday, the Raider girls will look to continue what has worked well for the team into the region tournament. The Raider girls have excelled with their press this year, and that was no different on Tuesday. They were able to stop Etowah from getting out on fast breaks and made them set up a half court offense. Amber Miller often led the press, stealing multiple passes and converting them into easy baskets for herself or her teammates. Lexi Harris was also able to find success against the Eagles, creating many extra possessions and even finding open shooters out of the high post on occasion. The Raiders will need Harris to continue her strong play, as they are able to cycle her and Neusha Green in order to tire out opposing bigs and still play fast. Against the Roswell Hornets the girls came up short, 75-85, in a high scoring contest. The Raider girls were able to play up to their opponent, matching a fast pace and making extra passes for easy shot attempts. With two minutes left in play, the Raider girls came within five points of the Hornets. Tomisin Adenupe scored 26 points, which took her over 1,000 points in her career. Tomisin achieved this feat in just under three seasons. While some tough teams await the girls in the region tournament, the girls proved that they are up for a challenge. They have senior night on Friday vs. Lassiter at 6:00.

The boys lost a close one to Etowah 37-39 on Tuesday, fighting until the final buzzer They were led by Cole Morris, who returned to play from a concussion and finished with 13 points. Cole is a vital piece of the Raider offense, and they return a much-needed starter right before the tournament. Cole will allow the team to not only dominate inside but also find open shots on the outside as he is a very capable passer. The boys came up just short against Roswell on Friday. David Sickles had a huge game, finishing with 15 points and three 3 pointers. David found his way into the game by passing to other shooters to start and then found his own rhythm in the second quarter. Another player help to the Raiders was senior Toni Adneupe. When the Raiders found themselves down by double figures, Toni checked in and repeatedly drove to the basket and finished through contact. As one of the veterans on the team, Toni will be one of the key parts to a potential region championship run for the Raiders. They have senior night on Friday against Lassiter at 7:30.

Come out and support your Raiders as they look to finish strong in regular season play!

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!

Region Play Heats Up

Happy New Year Raiders! While the semester begins for the rest of Raider Nation today, your Raider basketball teams have already been hard at work in 2020. After playing Cherokee and Blessed Trinity last Friday and Saturday, both the girls and the boys sit 3rd in region standings. This week, the Raiders will meet Lassiter and Woodstock which could change that. The teams had a good preparation in this past weekend’s matches.

The Raider girls lost to Cherokee Friday night. Despite the final score, the Raiders fought hard and played tough against the number eight team in Georgia. The Raiders were able to limit the Cherokee offense in the first half by full court pressing, applying pressure onto ball handlers and playing help defense on open shooters. Junior Emily Lee had the most success with this press, stealing the ball from the Warriors multiple times and then finding her teammates open for easy baskets. Freshman Lexi Harris put together a solid game for the Raiders, grabbing multiple offensive rebounds in the game and putting them back up for easy layups. Against Blessed Trinity, the girls were able to come away with a comeback win, 62-57. Down two points at halftime, the girls came out with intensity and desire in the second half. Coach Kelterborn made the switch to the full court press again, and the girls immediately opened the quarter on a 7-0 run. Senior Neusha Green was key to the victory, making shots out of the low post and securing multiple offensive rebounds that clinched the victory for the Raiders. For a stretch, the Raiders were even feeding her the ball at the foul line and allowing her to make passes to open shooters. As the game wound down, the girls impressed as a team, making unselfish passes to break the press and draining the clock down to the final buzzer. This week’s upcoming games against could potentially see them rising as high as number 1 in region standings. 

The Raider boys also lost to region leader Cherokee Friday night. Despite a slow start out of the gate which saw them down 16-3, the boys fought hard. Junior shooting guard Hunter Bloom, a new face on the court, hit a three pointer just minutes after coming in the game, making the defense respect him from the outside. The Raider defense in the paint was strong. Despite multiple Warriors being taller than the Raiders, they were able to keep them out of the paint and force them to take shots from the outside. On Saturday, the boys took on Blessed Trinity. Though the final score was 44-55, the boys started the 4th quarter with the intensity and passion they need for this week’s upcoming games. Down 29-42 at the start of the 4th quarter, the Raiders began to press the Blessed Trinity ball handlers, forcing them into some ill-advised passes which swung the momentum in our favor. Junior Alex Packman played very well in the second half, diving on multiple loose balls and battling down low with Titan defenders. Alex also drew a foul and made both free throws late in the game to cut the Titan lead to eight points. Junior guard Landon Hong saw success with the press, using use his speed to deflect passes and cover multiple Titans which disrupted their offensive flow. 

While this may have been a tough weekend for the Raiders, they were able to face quality competition and gain experience that will help them this season. Both teams hope to rise in region standings this week, beginning Tuesday at Lassiter. Friday is Winterfest at Walton, and Woodstock will travel to meet your Raiders at home. Make sure to be a part of this week’s excitement by coming out to support your Raiders!

Raiders Rising in Region

The Raiders returned home this weekend as Walton hosted region opponent Roswell and Kennesaw Mountain in a non-region contest. In two incredible games, the Raider girls split their contests this weekend.

Against the Roswell Hornets, the girls fought hard to keep the game close, making up for some early turnovers. Ultimately, it was a 3-point shot by Tomisin Adenupe with 2.8 seconds left that put the Raiders on top.

Adenupe scored 21 points, making that five games over 20. Senior Neusha Green averaged double-digit rebounds in both games this weekend. After her season ended abruptly last year due to injury, Green has started the year strong, leading the team in both rebounding and blocks. The rotation of players at the wings has been an asset for the Raiders so far, creating shots on offense and playing tight man-to-man defense. In a hard-fought physical game, the tables turned on Saturday as the Raiders lost 44-45. 

 

Two wins this weekend bring the boys’ record to 9-2. On Friday, the Raiders beat the Hornets 69-61. The Hornets have given the Raiders trouble in the past, eliminating them from the region tournament two years ago and sweeping the season series last year. However, the Raiders were able to defeat the Hornets with team chemistry and balanced scoring. While Roswell relied heavily on two players, the Raiders were able to get three players into double figures and hit 10 three pointers as a team. Sophomore Dylan Pumpian torched the Hornets for five three pointers, swinging the momentum multiple times in favor of the Raiders. Made free throws iced the game for the Raiders in the fourth quarter. On Saturday, the Raiders defeated Kennesaw Mountain 58-49, led by Luka Avaliani’s 22 points.

In region play, the girls stand at 2-0, just behind the region leader Cherokee with a 3-0 record. With a loss to Etowah, the boys are at 1-1 in region play and also look to take Cherokee out of the region lead when they all meet on Friday, January 3 at Cherokee.

When the Raiders finish up exams on Friday, they will hit the road to take on South Forsyth. Both boys and girls will wrap up 2019 with a holiday tournament before taking on Cherokee. The Raiders next home game will be on Saturday, January 4 against Blessed Trinity. Start the New Year by showing up for your Raiders.