Raiders Opening Statement

This week Walton gave a convincing opening statement for a competitive season! What a way to open the year for the Raiders, who couldn’t have done it without the support of you, Raider Nation. The varsity girls opened up their season on Thursday, with a win vs. South Cobb, 64-48. Despite the final score, our girls had to fight through adversity to pull this one out, as they trailed 25-32 at halftime. Our 3 point shot was the driving force in our comeback as several players hit from deep. Junior Emily Lee was fantastic; she poured in 17 points, but more importantly, was able to shred South Cobb’s press with her ball handling and court vision. Friday, the girls pulled out another close game vs. Osborne, with a victory of 52-45. Our 3 point shot was not working throughout the game, as our first make from beyond the arc was in the 3rd quarter. However, this team is adept at making changes on the fly and focused on driving to the basket and getting opportunities at the foul line. Senior Emma Landroche led the team, as she showed marks of a great leader on defense, diving on loose balls and taking several charges. With a hot 2-0 start, the Lady Raiders get a break, not playing until November 30 at Forsyth Central High School. 
Equally impressive, the varsity boys faced prestigious programs this week but did not back down from the challenge. On Friday the boys pulled out an exciting win to start vs. Osborne, 67-48. The boys played physical throughout, manhandling Osborne and taking them to the basket seemingly at will. Sophomore point guard Luka Avaliani had 15 points in his varsity debut and forced the defense to key in on him when he drove, leaving sharpshooters David Sickles and Jordan Krueger open, who were seemingly unconscious from deep. Junior Cole Morris was a dominant rim presence, pulling in rebound after rebound and two huge blocks. On Saturday, the Raiders faced a talented Harrison Hoyas team, who brought pressure from the tipoff. Despite a slow start, with the first quarter ended with Harrison up by 11, the Raiders fought back, with the finishing 74-62, Raiders. The team’s tenacity on defense and fantastic ball movement turned the game our way. In the 4th quarter, with the Raiders up 52-44, the Raiders ripped off a 17-4 run to put the game out of reach. Our press hounded Harrison, forcing a string of turnovers. Senior Tony Adenupe provided a spark off the bench with 12 points and great hustle plays. The boys need Raider Nation to show up and show out Monday at Johns Creek at 5 PM, where they open tournament play.
While a season full of evidence is ahead of us, it seems the verdict on the Walton Basketball program concludes that this will be an exciting season for Raider Nation.