But nothing makes his job easier than a perfect pass.
On Wednesday, Walker controlled the inside by getting high-percentage looks in the Laney boys basketball team’s 73-46 win against Macon County in a Class AA state quarterfinal.
The Wildcats next play Greater Atlanta Christian on Friday night at 8:30 at Georgia College in Milledgeville.
“I just relaxed before the game and got my mind focused,” said Walker, who posted a team-high 18 points. “I just stopped worrying.”
Laney, the defending state champion, returned to the state semifinals by winning every quarter.
The fun started right away, with the Wildcats’ passing giving Walker a close look for the game’s first points.
JaShawn Brooks was the catalyst at the start, grabbing an offensive rebound and quickly passing the ball to a wide open Walker. Brooks also hit a couple of 3-pointers.
Laney’s efficient opening meant there would be no extension of the Bulldogs’ surprise run – Macon County was a No. 4 seed but still marched to the quarterfinals.
However, the Wildcats didn’t allow the Bulldogs to get road victory No. 3.
The Wildcats were up 12 points at the end of the first quarter and 17 at the half.
Following the second quarter, it was 39-22, and Macon County never mounted a serious threat.
The Wildcats were up by at least 20 points for most of the closing two quarters.
Three players reached double figures for Laney, with Brooks and Zephaniah Jasper joining Walker. Jasper played an important role when the game lost some flow during a foul-dominated second quarter that dragged on into the second half.
Macon County’s Juwan Willock took advantage of all the fouls by getting half of his 22 points at the foul line, but Jasper led the Laney foul-shooting party with his nine free throws; Brooks added seven at the stripe.
But unlike the Bulldogs, Laney had field goals to go with its free throws – Walker’s nine baskets were just three shy of matching the Bulldogs’ team total.
With the win, Laney continued its dominance after losing to Westside in the region championship. Since that defeat, a young Wildcats team has strung together three consecutive state playoff wins by an average of 22.3 points.
“Sometimes it’s hard to teach after losses,” Laney coach Jerry Hunter said. “But they believe right now.”