The Walnut Lady Wildcats made a statement to North Mississippi this week that you better come ready to play when the ball is tipped against them.
On Friday, the Lady Wildcats took three time defending state champion Ingomar late into the fourth quarter with the lead.
They played tenacious defense and hit big shots. Vivian Martindale and Claire Leak were able to hit knock down jumpers. Laney Jackson handled the ball with poise against pressure from Ingomar’s full court press. 8th grader MK Vuncannon guarded one of the best players in Mississippi in Gara Beth Self in a way you don’t typically see from young players.
In the end, their 56-49 was not so much a moral victory as a reassurance that they can compete at high levels.
On Saturday, that reassurance was bolstered with a 47-33 victory over 5A Saltillo at the Robertson Sportswear Classic.
Leak led Walnut in scoring both games with 16 and 15, respectively. Martindale scored in double figures each game.
The Lady Cats are deep and young. Their losses this season include close ones to 4A power Ripley and 3A Kossuth. They are peaking at the right time.
To outsiders, they continue to ask “where did this team come from?”
To those of us who have followed the program this season, we say “and now you know.”
Walnut is in action next week with two huge division games against Baldwyn and New Site.