Fast start for Lady Wave helps to key a big night

By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal

FULTON – In recent seasons, the Tupelo Lady Wave versus the Itawamba AHS Lady Indians has been a highly competitive affair.
The Lady Wave took some of that edge off the series Friday with strong play in the first half, earning a 55-41 victory over the hustling Itawamba squad.
“Itawamba always plays us tough,” Tupelo coach Stephanie Murphy said. “We played well, played hard, but I was a bit disappointed in the way we closed.
“That’s something we’ll have to work on.”
The Lady Wave (10-3) certainly opened strong, going on a 15-0 run before the Lady Indians (5-8) could score a field goal. That Tupelo onslaught, led by three 3-pointers by Aftan Goree, translated to a 20-3 lead late in the first quarter.
Itawamba’s effort through out the contest was constant, and helped power a 9-0 run into the second period that pulled the Lady Indians within 20-12 following a Laken McKnatt 3-pointer. But Tupelo had an answer for that in the form of Amber Jackson, who scored the next nine points for the Lady Wave, who led at the half 30-15.
“We shot the ball extremely well early,” Murphy said. “Once Aftan gets that first one to go down, she can put them in there.
“And in the second quarter, Amber is capable of getting those kind of points all game long.”
Tupelo extended its lead to 46-25 at the end of the third.
Jackson paced the Lady Wave offense with 14 points, with Goree adding 13. McKnatt and Jasna Clay each scored 13 to lead Itawamba.
(B) Tupelo 101, Itawamba AHS 43
The Golden Wave (10-3) full-court pressure and offense was clicking on all cylinders in the first half. And that carried into the second half, with every Tupelo player eventually scoring.
“It had been about a week since we played, and we wanted to come out with intensity, and it really worked,” Tupelo coach Grant Pate said. “At this point in the season, we do need to work on being more consistent on each possession, and put consistent possessions together.”
A Deontyne Ewing 3-pointer began a 15-0 Tupelo run in the first quarter that pushed the lead to 25-7.
Then in the second quarter, Telvin Hadley scored 14 points as the Wave put together a 20-0 run and moved to a 58-18 halftime lead.
Hadley led the Tupelo offense with 22, while Joe Reed hit 11 for the Indians.