To say the Malone Tigers have had a start to their season like no other is an understatement to say the least. Graceville is coming off a dismal football season and looking to turn things around in basketball. Both of those factors made for a thrilling, down-to-the wire finish for the fans and the players. After four quarters of play, it was the visiting Graceville Tigers who came out on top by the narrowest of margins, 60-59.
The first eight minutes of the game gave the fans the hint that it might be a one-sided affair with Malone taking a 20-6 lead after one period. It was Quinton Groomes leading the Malone Tigers with nine points, including a pair of three-pointers.
The second quarter went in favor of a rejuvenated Graceville Tiger team who found their offensive footing and put up 18 points. Malone answered with 12 points to take a 32-24 lead into the locker room at the half.
Both Tiger teams challenged each other in the third quarter with the visitors edging out the home Tigers 18-17 and yes, that one point did make a difference. Taylor Brown put up a pair of threes with Odarius Murff going 4-for-4 from the charity stripe. Graceville countered with Cyprian James posting eight points and Austin Angerbrandt putting up four points.
The final quarter decided it all with Malone leading 49-43 with just eight minutes to go. No one was leaving their seats as they know these two teams well and the stat books goes out the door when they go head-to-head. When the final buzzer sounded, it was Malone just one-point shy of a win 60-59. Xaivan Sorey led his team in the final quarter with eight points, including going 2-for-3 from the line.
Malone was led in scoring by Taylor Brown with 15 points followed by Quinton Groomes with 12 points. On board with nine points each were Odarius Murff and Joshua Rivers.
Graceville was led by Xavian Sorey who had an NBA kind of night with 22 points, with Joell Green in double digits with 10 points. Cyprian James was on board with eight points.