WALNUT • Neither Walnut nor Hickory Flat brought their best when it came to shooting the basketball. Despite a poor shooting performance, the Rebels were able to hold off the Wildcats 51-48 in last Saturday's Sikes Memorial Tournament held at Walnut.
Hickory Flat shot 36 percent from the field as the Wildcats barely beat them with a 39 percent clip. The difference in the game proved to be the free throw line, where the Wildcats shot just 8-of-21 versus Hickory Flat hitting 14-of-28 from the charity stripe.
The first quarter was indicative of the offensive woes for both teams as they ended the first eight-minute period tied 7-7.
The second quarter proved to be where the Rebels pulled away. Down 12-11, Hickory Flat pieced together a 10-0 run with five points coming from senior Lane Gordon and four points coming from Drew Wilson, that built a nine-point lead with 2:22 left in the first half.
Hickory Flat led 26-18 at halftime.
In the third, Wilson along with Jonah Baker combined to score the Rebels' first eight points of the third quarter as their lead grew to 10 points. Back-to-back buckets from Walnut's Mario Zuniga cut the lead down to six before Alex Tatum secured an offensive rebound and put it back on the glass to spark a small 5-0 run for their largest lead of the night at 11. The Wildcats ended the third on a 4-0 spurt as the Rebels clung to a 39-32 lead entering the fourth.
Walnut pulled within five of the lead early in the fourth but back-to-back layups from Baker put the Rebels back up nine by the 6:16 mark. With 1:42 to play, Walnut got the deficit down to just two after using an 8-2 run. Hickory Flat freshman Logan King stepped up to knock down 3-of-4 free throws in the final minute and 20 seconds to hold of the Wildcats comeback attempt.
Wilson scored a game-high 17 points in the win followed by Baker's nine points. Both players notched eight rebounds apiece.
The Rebels improve to 4-8 on the season.