Falcons Fall Short in State Basketball Championship

By George Slaughter

The Tompkins Falcons boys basketball team can reflect on an historic season, even if it fell short in the state final.

On Saturday, the Allen Eagles scored on an almost last-second basket to claim a 49-47 victory and the Class 6A state title at the Alamodome.
Allen finishes at 35-5. Tompkins finishes at 32-9. Tompkins’s appearance in the title game was the first time a Katy Independent School District team had made it this far in the basketball tournament.

With the game tied at 47 late in overtime, the Falcons went for what they expected would be a final, game-winning shot. But the Allen defense held, and Eagles senior forward Jaylen Walker recovered the ball and passed it to senior guard Donovan Parham at midcourt, who went in for an uncontested layup with 1.1 seconds left.

Parham’s basket came so late it was first thought that no time was left on the clock. However, Tompkins coach Bobby Sanders had called timeout immediately after the basket, and officials had to review the situation. They determined that 1.1 seconds remained in the game. Tompkins would have one last chance to score.

Several timeouts later, the Falcons passed the ball to midcourt, but the long-range shot fell short and the game ended.

The Falcons put themselves in position to win in overtime thanks to a clutch three-point shot by senior guard Eden Holt, which put Tompkins ahead 47-45. But Allen came back to tie the game on two free throws by Walker, setting up the ill-fated final possession for the Falcons.

Tompkins senior guard Jamal Bienemy began the scoring for the Falcons, who took a 14-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Tompkins maintained its lead throughout the second quarter and went into halftime up 22-19. But the shooting for both teams was off. Allen hit only eight of 18 shots, while Tompkins made 11 of 27 shots. Sanders told an interviewer at halftime that the Falcons needed to move the ball more to get better shots.

The Eagles came back to reclaim the lead early in the third quarter, but the Falcons reasserted themselves and had a 35-32 lead going into the fourth quarter. Allen outscored Tompkins 12-9 in the fourth quarter to send it into overtime.

Saturday’s game was the second consecutive overtime game for the Falcons, who defeated South Garland 80-76 Friday night in a semifinal overtime thriller.

The Falcons’ season is another chapter in what is proving to be a memorable sports year for Katy ISD teams. The Seven Lakes Lady Spartans volleyball team made it to its first-ever state title game this season. The Katy Tigers football team made it to the state semifinals.