By PATRICK CASEY
DEFUNIAK SPRING, FLA – The Walton Lady Braves girls basketball team began their 2016-17 regular season with a 50-28 victory over Chipley on Monday night as sophomore Haleigh Graham scored 13 points to lead the host squad to a win.
The Braves took advantage of shooting woes by the visiting Tigers as Walton jumped out to an 11-6 lead after the first quarter. The margin became 25-16 at the half as Chipley could connect on only 8-of-29 shots from the field over the first 16 minutes of play.
Eight different players scored in the first half for the Braves and second year head coach Michael Craig was able to use all 11 players on his varsity roster effectively throughout the contest.
Walton ran into turnover problems in the third quarter as Chipley got the deficit back down to single digits but Graham and Izaiah Williams each contributed a pair of baskets to hold the lead at 35-24 entering the fourth quarter.
It was all Walton over the final eight minutes as the Braves posted a 15-4 scoring margin to close out the contest with a 22-point margin of victory.
Walton hit 19-of-44 shots from the floor and 5-of-10 from the free throw line while Chipley struggled to the tune of 13-of-53 from the field and just 1-of-5 from the charity stripe.
Williams and Macy Danley added nine points apiece for the Braves while senior Karena Bell led the Tigers with nine points.
Walton will travel to Paxton on Friday for a 6 p.m. start with the Bobcats.
Team Notes: Walton is not fielding a junior varsity team this season. The Braves are 21-13 against Chipley since the 1992-93 season but broke a two game losing streak to the Tigers with the win. Walton is 11-5 at home against Chipley since 1992-93. Chipley had a significant rebounding advantage in the game but could not make shots from the floor to take advantage. Chipley committed 19 turnovers to 18 for the Braves. Walton dressed 11 players while Chipley had 10. Kim Tuel is the head coach of the Tigers squad. Walton won their season opener for the first time since the 2012-13 season. Walton is 10-32 versus Paxton since the 1992-93 season and the Bobcats have won the last five in the series.
By PATRICK CASEY