By Ken Lay
West Valley Middle School’s girls basketball team has appeared in the last five postseason tournament championship games but the young Lady Wolves have struggled early this season.
But West Valley might’ve turned the corner when it notched a 35-34 comeback victory at Northwest on Monday, Nov. 30.
The Lady Wolves (2-2 overall, 1-2 in the Knox County Middle School Basketball Conference) scored the first four points of the contest when center Megan Armstrong made a pair of short baskets.
From there, however, the Lady Rangers (2-3, 1-3) took control of the contest and opened a 15-10 advantage by halftime and clung to a 25-22 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Wolves controlled the final six minutes despite losing three points on the foul line due to lane violations.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before,” Lady Wolves coach Josh Ballard said. “We lost three points because of lane violation but those things come with having a young team.
“This was our first league win and it’s going to be a struggle for us this year.”
Time will tell if the Lady Wolves have what it takes to make a run at another tournament title, but they certainly found six minutes of magic against the Lady Rangers last week.
West Valley opened a 31-27 lead when Armstrong knocked down a pair of free throws with 2 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the game and pushed that advantage to 33-27 when Cameron Carter made a basket a short time later.
Carter’s two free throws with 1:04 left made the score 35-29 with 1:04 to play and all but sealed the victory for the Lady Wolves.
Northwest’s Jakhyia Davis scored the game’s final four points and led all scorers with 19 on the night.
Lady Rangers’ coach Andrea Ensor said that her squad must learn to play better together as the season progresses.
“We haven’t quite learned to play together as a team,” she said. “We haven’t quite learned to pass the ball and get rid of the ball at the right time.
“I think, by tournament time, that we’ll be pretty good but we have a lot of things to work on.”
Zneyah McLaughlin led the Lady Wolves with 14 points.