WALKER — Walker basketball coach Anthony Schiro wanted to give his team what’s amounted to a week-long tuneup before the start of District 4-5A play next week.
Thus far, the Wildcats have been humming along quite nicely.
Walker won for the second time this week and extended its win streak to eight, handing Dutchtown a 72-59 defeat Thursday evening.
The Wildcats (16-4) complete their three-game week with a trip to Catholic High on Friday and host Central next Tuesday in the start of league play.
“It will be a good test to have Dutchtown and Catholic back to back,” Schiro said. “We’ll get to see where we’re at and what to work on in preparation for district. Hopefully we’ll stay hot, keep rolling and get into district and do some good things.”
Guard Jacobi Scott touched off a 8-0 surge to close the first quarter, dropping in a pair of 3-pointers in the last 1:22 of play for a 17-9 lead.
The Wildcats fueled their offense by utilizing a run-and-jump defense that forced the Griffins into seven turnovers and disrupted their offensive flow.
“We got off to a bad start and dug ourselves a hole,” Dutchtown coach Patrick Hill said. “Give Walker credit. They shot the ball well and ran their offense well. The run and jump affected us. They were well prepared.”
Walker found its groove against Dutchtown’s 2-3 zone with Scott scoring 12 of his 15 points in the first half, while Dalton Moore had 10 of his 21 points during that stretch.
Walker shot 57 percent in the first half (12 of 21), opening as much as a 16-point lead (29-13) on Le Davis’ driving layup. Moore then stopped Dutchtown’s best run of the half — a 6-0 spurt — with a driving layup with two-tenths of a second left for a 32-21 halftime lead.
Dutchtown (8-11), which shot 40 percent in the opening half, got to within 38-26 with 2:06 left in third quarter on Ja’Colby Ambeau’s basket only to have guard Darius Hampton, who led Walker with 22 points, convert two straight turnovers into layups. He finished the quarter with a reverse layup to account for a 45-29 advantage.
Davis’ 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter started a 7-0 run that included a basket from Hampton and a 10-footer from Garrett Carlisle, providing the Wildcats with their largest lead (52-29) of the game with seven minutes left.
Dutchtown guard Neill Caldwell scored 13 of his game-high 28 points in the final quarter.
“We came out in the second half and switched to a matchup zone and slowed them down for a while,” Schiro said. “That allowed us to get a few turnovers, get some transition and we executed pretty well.”