Defending champs end Lady Wave's season

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

HORN LAKE – Tupelo ran into a basketball buzzsaw Monday night and the end result wasn’t pretty.
Defending state champion Horn Lake shot 80 percent in the first quarter to take a 25-point lead on its way to a 77-40 victory against the visiting Lady Wave in the first round of the North Mississippi 6A tournament.
“They were clicking on all cylinders, no doubt about it,” Tupelo coach Stephanie Murphy said moments after her squad (18-13) was eliminated from postseason play.
Horn Lake (20-3) scored in transition, pounded the ball inside and nailed 3-point bombs from the perimeter to inflict its early damage.
“The girls told me before the game they were focused,” Horn Lake coach Janna Lyons said. “They went out an did an excellent job.
“We definitely can fire from different angles with a lot of weapons.”
Horn Lake advanced to Friday’s semifinals, which it will host.
Savannah Kimmons owned the paint, scoring nine of her game-high 20 points in the first quarter for the Lady Eagles. Brittany Grant connected of two of the team’s four 3-pointers in the period. She finished with 19 points, including another 3-pointer.
Horn Lake pushed its lead to 46-13 by halftime without a lot of scoring help from its usual top gun, forward/guard Tia Coleman.
Tupelo held the Eagles’ ace, who scored 30 last week in a division win, to three first-half points and eight total.
It didn’t matter. There were plenty others to take up the slack.
‘A little confused’
“We were a little confused on defense coming down in transition,” Murphy said. “Once they started going inside there wasn’t a whole lot we could do. They had a height advantage.
“Plus, they weren’t missing from the outside. There was not a lot we could do but try to fight and not give up.”
Tupelo was led in scoring by its future, eighth grader Jaleigha Polk, who connected on six 3-pointers for 18 points.
“She plays like she has no fear,” Murphy said. “I’m not surprised by what she showed because she works at it all the time.”
n Game summary, Page 2B