By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
RIPLEY – You can bet that Falkner High point guard Kendrick Williams wishes he had the talent that Ripley’s Acie Vance has. As does everyone else in Tippah County.
Williams, the Eagles’ point guard, scored a team-high 12 points in Friday’s evening’s Tippah County Tournament semifinal against Ripley, but was overshadowed in the first quarter by Vance. As was Eagles’ leading scorer Will Robertson (held to just five points).
Vance, a senior and NCAA Division I prospect, scored all 16 of his points in the first quarter, knocking down three 3-pointers and converting an old-fashioned 3-point play.
“It blew my mind,” Williams said about Vance going off in the first quarter.
Vance and Co. outscored the Eagles 31-8 in the first quarter and won easily, 77-29.
Thanks to teammate Malik Pearson’s 17 first-half points, in addition to Deion Palmer’s seven and Ron Dixon’s six, Vance could rest comfortably the rest of the game after playing just the opening minute of the second period.
The Tigers (10-6) led 53-16 at halftime before defeating the Eagles (6-9) for the second time in three weeks. Ripley outlasted Falkner, 80-65, in a Dec. 18 contest at Ripley High School.
While few high school players in Mississippi can match point for point with Vance, Williams was doing his best to keep up. Falkner’s 5-foot-9, 150-pound junior guard matched Vance’s first 3 of the game with a deep jumper of his own and scored six of his team’s eight points through the first eight minutes.
With Ripley’s starters out of the game in the second half, Williams tallied five points in the third quarter before sitting out the rest of the contest.
– (G) Walnut 59, Pine Grove 50: Walnut owned the fourth quarter and owned the game. The Lady Wildcats (11-5) outscored the Lady Panthers 21-14 in the final period to break open a close game.
Rebecca Robinson scored eight of her team-high 24 points in the final period. Lindsey Downs added 10 points in the Tippah County Tournament semifinal.
Bryana Davis scored a game-high 28 for Pine Grove (13-8), while teammate Lacy Blakney had 12.
Walnut will face host Ripley in today’s 6 p.m. championship game.
n (B) Blue Mountain 67, Pine Grove 58: Quentin Carrol had 22 points, Josh Girley scored 12 and Ismael Ruedas added 11 to pace the Cougars (12-5).
Austin Hopper had 22, while Matt Bailey had 10 for the Panthers (8-12).
Blue Mountain will play Ripley at 7:30 tonight at Ripley High School for the county tournament championship.