WALNUT • The first day of the Tippah County Tournament yielded some of the better games throughout the three-day tournament. The tournament began with Blue Mountain versus Walnut boys, followed by Blue Mountain and Walnut girls. The nightcap featured the best game of the tournament—a showdown between Falkner and Pine Grove boys.
(B) Blue Mountain 63, Walnut 38
The Cougars got off to a fast start, building a 10-2 lead within the first four minutes of the game. Walnut answered with a 9-0 run to end the first quarter, including five points from Brantley Porterfield to help Walnut take an 11-10 lead into the second.
The two teams traded baskets as Blue Mountain built as much as a three-point lead in the second quarter. Porterfield's layup with 36 seconds pulled Walnut within one before Blue Mountain's David Peterson answered with a layup on the other end for a 22-19 lead at the break.
The Cougars caught fire from three-point range in the second half. After starting the third quarter on a 8-0 run, DeShawn Tyler and Jaden Hall connected on the Cougars' first three-point makes of the game as they built a 13-point lead.
Up 12 in the the fourth, Tyler drilled three 3-pointers as Hall connected on his second triple in the midst of a 15-0 run to secure the win. Tyler finished with a game-high 19 points. Hall added 17 points while Trent Gray pitched in 13 points. Porterfield led Walnut with 12 points.
(G) Walnut 58, Blue Mountain 44
This game looked like it was going to get out of hand early, much like their first meeting this season. The Lady Wildcats opened a 17-5 lead at the 3:23 mark of the first quarter but the Lady Cougars showed their resolve as the found themselves down 21-11 by the end of the first quarter.
Walnut started the second quarter on a 7-1 run, opening a 28-12 lead behind five points from Claire Leak. From there, Blue Mountain went on an 11-0 run capped by an Annija Chills three-pointer at the buzzer as the Lady Cougars entered the locker room down just 28-23.
Both teams traded scores in the third quarter with Walnut adding two more points to their lead, entering the fourth up 40-33. Another Chills' three-pointer to start the fourth got the Lady Cougars within four. An 8-2 run from the duo of Leak and Madi Kate Vuncannon had the Lady Wildcats back up 10 with 5:49 to play. Chills ended the run with another three from the wing, closing the gap to just seven. Walnut responded with a 6-0 run before Chills hit her third 3-pointer of the quarter with 1:17 left to get the Lady Cougars back within 10, but it was too late to make a difference.
Leak finished the game with 23 points and 16 rebounds. Vuncannon added 20 points for Walnut. Chills led Blue Mountain with 15 points. Ariauna Foote added 14 points while Teauna Foote pitched in 13 points.
(B) Pine Grove 63, Falkner 61 (OT)
The game of the tournament ended in dramatic fashion.
Falkner looked like a team on a mission following their loss to their Panthers last Tuesday night in a Div. 1-1A contest. The Eagles opened a 21-8 lead in the first quarter and was in control of the game up until the six-minute mark of the third quarter.
Daylon Crum split a pair of free throws at the line in the third for a 19-point lead with 6:31 left. From there, the momentum shifted in Pine Grove's favor. The Panthers closed the third on a 12-2 run and they cut the deficit to nine entering the fourth.
Late in the fourth, Pine Grove's Jack Hudson's first three-pointer of the game fell with 3:39 left as the Panthers pulled within two. A layup from Mason Bullock gave the Panthers their first lead since the first quarter at 49-48 with 1:25 to play. A huge basket from Falkner freshman Rod Ruedas with 1:05 left helped the Eagles retake the lead. Bullock answered on the other end with a floater in the lane for a 51-50 lead with 32 seconds left. With just eight seconds left, Falkner's Cam Smith drove to the basket for a layuo plus the foul as the Eagles held a two-point lead. Pine Grove's Carson Rowland was fouled with four seconds left, sending him to the line for a one-and-one opportunity. Rowland happened to be the only player on the floor that knew it was a one-and-one as he gathered the miss on his free throw attempt and laid it back in to send the game to overtime.
In overtime, Jack Hudson buried his second three-pointer to cap a 5-0 start to the period. Falkner senior Chauncey Jackson scored on a layup plus the foul for a three-point play of his own to cut the lead back to two. Hudson connected on his third three-pointer from the corner as Pine Grove held a 61-56 lead with 1:50 to play. Again, Jackson responded with an old-fashioned three-point play with 57 seconds left to keep Falkner in striking distance. Later, Smith went coast-to-coast for the layup with 33 second left to the game again at 61-61. With 12 seconds left, Rowland drove to the front of the rim for the game-winning layup.
Rowland finished the game with 24 points. Hudson and Bullock both added 12 points. Cade Wilder pitched in 10 points for the Panthers. Jackson led Falkner with 19 points. Smith followed him with 18 points.