Wonderful Wolves double up as No. 1

  • Gold ball trophy in hand, West Valley boys are No. 1 as county champions. - Alan Sloan

  • With head coach Josh Ballard, WVMS girls celebrate a Knox County title. - Alan Sloan

West Valley takes down FMS for Knox crown

KNOXVILLE — A trapping full-court press and half-court defense, plus explosive scoring from a post, allowed the unbeaten West Valley Middle School boys to pull away and beat rival Farragut Middle 71-41 in the Knox County Middle School Basketball tourney title game Thursday night, Jan. 21, at South-Doyle Middle School.

“I’m just proud of these boys, they came to work,” Wolves head coach Noel Landrum said. “... What helps me is we have a really deep bench.”

The Ads lost for the first time (9-1).

Post King Hubbard led WVMS (11-0) in scoring with 23, while Drew Parrott added 16 and Justin Nordin nine points, as the Wolves pulled away from a 16-10 first quarter lead.

Dominic Vanacker led FMS in scoring with 18 points, followed by Parker Lane with 13. “We couldn’t match their intensity, and they made us do things that we don’t normally do,” Farragut head coach Lynn Allen said.

Despite losing its top scorer, Lady Wolves hold off Karns to claim county championship

KNOXVILLE — Having lost “our most productive scorer” in the third quarter of an eventual 30-28 nailbiting win against rival Farragut Middle School in the Knox County Basketball Tournament semifinals, West Valley Middle School’s depth was challenged two days later in the tourney championship game versus Karns.

Missing eighth-grade forward Lainey Cox was tough, out with an ankle sprain, but other Lady Wolves stepped up in a 51-43 title game victory Thursday, Jan. 21, at South-Doyle Middle School.

“I thought our girls took it upon themselves to fill in for Lainey, so we had several players fill that scoring void,” head coach Josh Ballard said, as WVMS stayed unbeaten at 12-0.

Kendall Anne Murphy, eighth-grade small forward, led the Lady Wolves in scoring versus Karns with 19 points. “Kendall’s had the talent in her all year, and we’ve been encouraging her to score,” Ballard said.

Seventh-grade point guard A’Zuya Blair added 14 points for the champs, while seventh-grade shooting guard Logan Connatser scored nine points in the first half.

“We asked Caitlin McVeigh to play man-to-man defense on their point guard, which made it hard for Karns to get into its offensive sets,” Ballard said about his eighth-grade guard. “Reese Roberts is probably the best scorer in Knox County, but it was hard at times for them to get her the ball with Caitlin playing good defense up top.”

With only 10 girls on the roster, “All 10 of them are good basketball players,” Ballard said, which also includes Katie Early, Marley Shands, Ali Wilkerson, Aisha Patel and Theola Mills. “It was a true team effort.”

West Valley is scheduled to begin play in the Tennessee Middle School Sectionals at Cleveland Middle School Monday, Feb. 1.