By Todd Vinyard
RIPLEY Three Prathers are great, but even just two can be good enough.
Falkner was missing one part of the Prather trio, Shane, who was out with the flu, but Edward and Bradley were enough Friday night to beat Blue Mountain 80-59.
The win moves Falkner (9-7) into the boys final of the Tippah County Tournament at Ripley. The Eagles will face Ripley tonight at 7:30 p.m. Ripley beat Walnut 69-55 Friday. In the girls game, Falkner faces Walnut at 6 p.m.
Edward Prather poured in 28 points and Bradley Prather added 21. Shino Edgeston had 18 for Eagles, who got a 17-4 run in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
“We are a transition team that likes to run,” Edward Prather said. “It is what we do best.”
He will not get an argument from Blue Mountain coach Ralph Stallings.
“All week we talked about trying to stop them from running, but we walked right into it,” said Stallings, whose team fell to 9-13. “We got close to start the second half and then relaxed. We are not as athletic as Falkner, so we can’t afford to relax at any point when we play them.”
Falkner led by 12 points after the first quarter, and then was up 36-23 at halftime. Blue Mountain fought back to within seven points with 3:45 left in the third quarter. But Falkner pushed the lead back up to 51-41 at the end of the third quarter.
“They started to figure out our press and started getting some easy baskets,” Falkner coach Tim Leatherwood said. “We stopped pressing and started executing our offense of moving the ball up and down the court.”
Blue Mountain was led by Uconnery Cook with 19 points, Edward Anderson had 16, and John Wilson had 10.
– He’s back.
Well, maybe Ripley’s Shermaine Rucker is not completely healed from an ankle injury, but he is starting to heat up.
Rucker, Ripley’s leading scorer before his injury, had a game-high 18 points in his second complete game.
“He sure looked good tonight,” Ripley coach Barry Goolsby said of Rucker. “We’re glad to have him back. One good thing about his injury is some other guys have stepped up.”
Ripley had three players in double figures along with Rucker. Maine Rogers scored 12 points, Brad Vernor had 11, and Rico McDonald chipped in 10.
Ripley led 36-28 at halftime.
“Overall, I thought we picked it up on defense and that really helped our offense,” Goolsby said. “Walnut did what they had to do to have a chance to win, and we were able to meet the challenge.”
For Walnut, Fredrick Spight scored 15 points, Derrick Gibbs had 14, and John Neely added 10.