FALKNER • The Tippah County Tournament began on Thursday night with a pair of tightly contested games. The Walnut Wildcats defeated Falkner in a highly competitive matchup that featured a thrilling game-winning buzzer-beater 3, while the Lady Wildcats held off a Pine Grove comeback to grind out the night 1 win.
(B) Walnut 69 – Falkner 68 (OT)
The opening contest of the 2021 Tippah County Tournament was perhaps the most exciting of the entire tournament, as Walnut’s Brantley Porterfield drained a game-winning 3 at the buzzer in overtime to defeat Falkner 69-68.
Walnut and Falkner went bucket for bucket throughout the first 3 quarters, with Walnut holding a slight 42-37 advantage heading into the final quarter. Falkner was able to send the game to overtime thanks to a pair of Dalton Brown free-throws with time expired.
Both teams traded buckets in the overtime period, until a late foul sent Falkner’s Rod Ruedas to the free throw line. Ruedas drained both free-throws to put Falkner ahead 68-66 with 7 second remaining. With those 7 seconds, Porterfield drove the ball up the court and heaved up a top of the key 3 as time expired, and drained it.
With the victory, Walnut both advanced in the TCT and avenged a defeat to Falkner from earlier in the season. Porterfield led the Wildcats with 21 points, with 9 coming in overtime. Ruedas led the Eagles with 20, while Daylon Crum added 17 for Falkner.
(G) Walnut 47 – Pine Grove 37
The Lady Wildcats defeated the Lady Panthers 47-37 to cap off the first night of the Tippah County Tournament.
What began as a defensive battle turned out to be a handy win for Walnut, as an 8-8 first quarter gave way to the Lady Wildcats outscoring Pine Grove 16-3 in the second quarter.
A 8-0 run by Pine Grove to kick off the fourth quarter made things interesting, but Walnut held on thanks to the free-throw line, as they forced several Panthers into foul trouble. Madi Kate Vuncannon and Ragan Kennedy led the Lady Wildcats with 12 points each.