WALKER — Nine minutes is the equivalent of more than a quarter in a high school basketball game.
And it was more than enough to put Walker High School on its way to a huge 76-47 victory over Catholic High on Friday night.
The nondistrict game showcased two Class 5A teams that has had their share of growing pains with new starters. A three-minute scoring drought for Catholic in the second quarter followed by two dry spells that totaled six minutes in the third period put Walker in the driver’s seat.
“We came out tonight and everything we practiced worked,” Walker’s Donald Butler said. “Coach (Anthony Schiro) told me to go out there and dominate because their team is all smaller than us.
“We are trying to get our team chemistry back up where it used to be. Tonight we did what we had to do.”
The 6-foot-4 Butler scored a game-high 25 points and had eight rebounds for the Wildcats (8-4), who found their groove after a month that included a COVID-19 quarantine and the addition of some football players.
Warren Young Jr. and Jaylon Mitchell each had 12, while Kedric Brown added 10 for Walker. Harlon Hamilton, who scored 19 points, was the lone double-figures scorer for Catholic (12-6), which awaits the addition of several football players to its squad.
“We have not played on the road in a while and we were a little out of our routine this week,” Catholic coach Mark Cascio said. “Walker played great and took it to us. In 5A basketball, if you don't come with your best effort this can happen."
Ian Cavana gave Catholic the lead 34 seconds into the game when he sank a 3-pointer and the Bears held the upper hand for most of the first quarter.
Catholic led 12-6 with 3:37 to go in the first quarter. Walker scored 11 of the final 13 points in the period. Butler’s layup and a free throw gave the Wildcats the lead for good at 17-14 with 1:53 remaining in the quarter.
Butler and Young combined for 21 first-half points. Both players were a big part of the Wildcats second-quarter surge. Walker shot a sizzling 67% from the field (10 of 15) in the quarter by spreading the court and passing to open players who cut to the basket.
The Bears did not score a field goal until Hamilton drove the lane for a layup at the 4:12 mark. By that time, Walker had a 28-17 lead. The Wildcats led 42-26 at halftime.
It was the same story in the third quarter. Hamilton made a 3-pointer to give Catholic its first points nearly 2½ minutes into the quarter. A 3½-minute drought followed. By the time the Bears scored again, Walker led 50-31. Butler exited the game midway through the fourth quarter following thunderous dunk.
The shooting numbers were telling too. Walker was 16 of 25 from the field in the middle quarters, while Catholic was 7 of 19.
“I could not be more proud of how we played tonight,” Schiro said. “They stuck to the game plan and did everything we asked them to do.”