The Rufus McDuffie era for the Walker boys basketball team got off to a great start on Thursday with the Vikings edging visiting Jackson-Olin 57-54 at Songer Gymnasium.
“You are always glad to get a win, but there were a lot of things we didn’t do as well as I expected,” McDuffie said.
Thursday’s game was a back-and-forth affair with the Vikings finally taking control following a Ja’Ray McElrath 3-pointer in the final minute.
“Late in the fourth quarter, Jackson-Olin took the lead for one of the few times in the game. We responded, which is a big positive for us,” McDuffie said.
Walker held a slim 18-16 edge after the opening quarter and the Vikings took a 28-27 lead into the half. The game was tied 40-40 after three quarters.
For Walker (1-0), Riley Graham and Michael Bridges each had 12 points. Jonathan McCants had eight points, both Matt McKay and Brandon Thursby added six points and Aaron Morris put in five.
McDuffie replaced former coach Scotty Ware, who coached the Vikings for 10 years.
Ware resigned from his post in May, three months after going through a 6-17 record, Walker’s third straight losing season.
McDuffie had a Hall of Fame career as Georgia high school coach. He won five state titles in 29 years. McDuffie took over the Walker program in July.
Walker travels to Winfield for its next game set for Tuesday.
Jackson-Olin 50, Walker 28
Walker’s offense never got in gear as Jackson-Olin ran away with a 50-28 win over the Vikings in the girls game.
Jackson-Olin led 14-9 after the opening quarter and took a 24-14 lead into the half. The Mustangs led 38-22 going into the final quarter.
For Walker, Mary Kate Harrell had eight points and Anna Claire Harris added seven.