Raiders Look to Rebound in the Raider Arena

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Raiders Look to Rebound in the Raider Arena

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The game was closer than the score indicated.

After East Hamilton extended the lead to as much as 12 in the fourth quarter, Cleveland trimmed it to six points.

The momentum was obviously in their favor, and they had a chance to cut into the lead even more with less than three minutes left.

But it felt like all night, the calls just weren’t going Cleveland’s way.

After a few Raiders showed emotion in disagreement with some calls, which isn’t wrong in and of itself, they were assessed three technical fouls.. After 6 free throws, the game was well over by then.

Don’t get me wrong. Cleveland could have won that game and the score is deceiving.

They look to rebound this week against surging county rival Walker Valley.


Not many people, if any at all, expected the Mustangs to start 6-0 this year. They’ve got a first-year head coach in Will Campbell, but he’s been around the program for several years.

They won’t wow you with their talent, but they’re certainly a team full of unselfish players.

Much like Cookeville, they’re going to fight tooth and nail to make up for their talent deficit against Cleveland. The Raiders are going to have to match the fight and intensity from the get-go on Tuesday.


There are multiple players that have to play well for Cleveland to win. Against East Hamilton, Dionte Ware shined with 20 points. The senior played a critical role in Cleveland’s attempt to penetrate the zone defense, and Ware hit several mid range jumpshots. He’s going to have to show up again on Tuesday, and I expect him to. Jacobi Wood is another player that is crucial to the Blue Raiders. “Bounce back coming…” he wrote on Twitter following the game on Friday. I expect him to do just that-bounce back. To be quite honest, there’s no one on the Walker Valley team who can match up athletically with Wood or Ware, so I wouldn’t be shocked if the Mustangs play zone on Tuesday, following suit with Cookeville and East Hamilton.

X Factor: Grant Hurst, Guard – Hurst erupted in the first home game of the season for the Blue Raiders last week – hitting 4 of his first 5 attempts from long range. He struggled on Friday against the lengthy Hurricanes defense, but I expect him to rebound on Tuesday. He’s a highly skilled player who never stops working. When asked if he believed his success on the court is related to the work he puts in, Hurst told CHSLive, “I feel like if I get better, the team gets better.” If Hurst bounces back this week, the team will as well. Give him 16 points & 4 threes. 

Walker Valley

Last year, to many, the Mustangs best player was Dustin Bunton, but he’s a Blue Raider now. The season seemingly rested on the shoulders of Jordan Munck, but seeing how successful they are leads me to believe it’s more of a balanced team than originally thought. Some players of name are Luke Wallace, Alex Duke, and Logan Pendergrass, all of whom are seniors. Obviously, leadership goes a long way, and it’s one of the biggest reasons they have been so successful to start the year.

X Factor: Jordan Munck, Guard – Munck has played varsity ball for a few years now, but he really began to get recognition for his play last season. After losing veteran players like Bryce Nunnelly and Cooper Melton, Munck had to step up, and he did. He’ll have to outplay skilled Cleveland guard Jacobi Wood in order for the Mustangs to stay hot and defeat the Blue Raiders… and that’s a tall task.

It’s going to be a great atmosphere on Tuesday night at the Raider Arena. It’ll be a full house, and the players are likely to feed off the energy of the crowd. This game could go either way, but if Cleveland comes out and plays their best, it’ll be difficult for Walker Valley to stop the Blue Raiders’ offense.

PredictionCleveland 68, Walker Valley 56