Challenge Met: Lady Wave gets into higher gear in second outing

TUPELO – Tupelo Lady Wave head coach Stephanie Murphy perhaps appeared a bit more relaxed after her team’s second game of the season.
The Lady Wave had knocked off a bit more of their summer rust, while knocking off the Ashland Blue Devils 54-27 Monday in the Golden Wave Tip-Off Challenge.
Other games on Monday had David Gardner scoring 33 points, 26 in the second half, as the Okolona Chieftains held off the Myrtle Hawks 82-79; and the Lady Hawks saw Aspriona Gilbert knocked down 27 in a 77-51 victory over the Lady Chieftains. The Golden Wave played the Hamilton Lions in the late game, winning 95-43.
“I felt like we looked better, looked quicker and more refreshed than our first game Saturday,” said Murphy, whose team opened the season with a 49-45 win against Olive Branch. “Our defense wasn’t bad, but we’ve still got to get better with our rebounding.”
With key scoring by Chy Cunningham, Dasia Mosley, and Faith Cook, the Lady Wave (2-0) moved smartly to a 16-3 lead at one point in the first quarter. Tupelo looked a bit flat the next two period, only scoring five points in the second quarter, but still leading 37-18 entering the final period.
There, Tupelo ripped off a 15-0 run to open the period to place themselves firmly in control.
“We got off to a great start, and played good in the first and fourth quarters,” Murphy said. “But in the second and third quarters, we were a little lax mentally.”
Cunningham paced the Lady Wave offense with 13 points, with Casey Marshall and Cook adding 10 each. Kawanda Galmore led Ashland with 10.
In the nightcap, the Golden Wave led 58-15 at halftime.
“Our press is starting to really get better and better with each game,” said Wave coach Grant Pate. “I’m just proud of the way they’re rebounding and all facets of the game right now.”
Montez Gary scored 19 to lead three Tupelo players in double figures.
The early games saw some nice individual scoring efforts.
While Gardner was scoring 33 for the Chieftains, Myrtle’s Robert Montgomery tossed in 32 in the losing effort.
Okolona grabbed the early lead in the contest, but Myrtle came back and led 39-32 at the half. That’s when Gardner, a 6-foot-6 Mississippi State commit, got hot, scoring 14 in the third period, and pushing the Chieftains into the lead 59-57.
For the Lady Hawks, the game was in hand by the end of the first quarter with a 24-7 lead. But while Myrtle continued its solid play to gain the win, Okolona’s Quinndella Ford came off the bench and scored 35 points in a losing effort.
Including Gilbert, five Lady Hawks were in double figures.
Play continues Thursday in the Challenge.
n Box scores, Page 2B

DAVID WHEELER / NEMS Daily Journal