The Columbus Falcons could have thrown in the towel when they lost the lead to the Midfield, Ala. Patriots Friday afternoon.
That didn't happen.
After holding the advantage for most of the game at the Humphrey Coliseum on the Mississippi State campus, Columbus trailed 32-30 with 4 minutes left in the game.
Brandon Porter scored five-straight points as the Falcons rallied for a 35-34 victory in the first game of the final day of the Travis Outlaw Slam Dunk at the Hump Christmas Tournament.
"This is what we want out of these guys going into next year, winning ballgames at crunch time," Columbus coach Sammy Smith. "Last year and two years ago, we would lose these games. We won this one. We didn't shoot free throws as well as we needed to, but we made up for it. When you only score 35 points and win a ballgame, that's kind of unbelievable. That tells you our defense was good."
The Falcons, who improved to 8-5, jumped out to a 14-7 lead after the first quarter, 19-14 at halftime and 30-24 after three quarters.
Midfield cut into the lead during the fourth quarter and gained its 32-30 advantage on a 3-point basket by Antoine Davis at the 4-minute mark.
Porter scored on a 3-point play with 2:41 remaining in the game to help Columbus regain the lead at 33-32, then he hit a pair of free throws to stretch the margin to 35-32.
The Patriots had chances down the stretch, but were unable to come up with the winning points.
Devin Berry led the Falcons with 10 points, while Porter added nine points. For Midfield, Davis scored 10 points, Alvin Murry added nine points and Arron Gaines chipped in eight points.
"I didn't know anything about them, but I found out quick who the shooter was (Gaines)," Smith said.
Hamilton, Tenn. 69,
New Hope 63
Keelon Lawson gave those attending the Travis Outlaw Slam Dunk at the Hump Tournament something to remember him by after scoring 23 points to lead Hamilton, Tenn., to the victory.
The Wildcats, who won all three of their games at the event, jumped out to a 17-13 lead after the first quarter and increased the distance to 41-28 at halftime.
New Hope outscored Hamilton 20-11 in the third quarter to close the gap to 52-48 after three quarters, but the Wildcats held off the Trojans in the fourth quarter.
Josh Crutcher followed Keelon Lawson with 14 points for Hamilton and Dedric Lawson contributed 13 points.
For New Hope, Jaylon Bardley matched Keelon Lawson's total of 23 points, while Chris Moseley added 11 points and Whyatt Foster chipped in 10 points.