By David Wheeler / NEMS Daily Journal
HICKORY FLAT – The Tupelo Golden Wave finally broke open a tight game in the third quarter, wearing down the Hickory Flat Rebels 77-56 Saturday as part of the Dominos Shootout at Hickory Flat.
“Hickory Flat was really scrappy,” said Tupelo Gate Pate, whose Wave were coming off a tough but key victory Friday over Columbus. “We changed up our press, like last night.
“Then we started rebounding better, and getting transition baskets. That helped us stretch out the lead.”
After a feeling-out period in the first quarter where Tupelo (16-3) led 17-12, the Wave really stretch out its advantage in early in the second period. Dajon Reno hit three key baskets as Tupelo moved to a 32-18 lead.
But Hickory Flat (18-5) fought back. A pair of baskets by Michael Penilton was part of a 6-0 run to close the half as the Rebels pulled within 34-28. The Rebel’s first basket of the third quarter was a 3-pointer by Anthony Tucker, closing the Tupelo lead to 35-31, but that’s as close as Hickory Flat would get.
Tupelo responded with consecutive field goals by Shane Butler and Deontaye Ewing. Then in the closing seconds of the quarter, a 3-pointer by Reno, and a three-point play by Ewing had the Wave sitting with a comfortable 57-43 lead.
“We wanted the opportunity to play Tupelo because it would do nothing but help us get better,” Hickory Flat coach Micheal Segar said. “They came at us in waves tonight.
“Our guys gave a good effort, and when we pulled close to them, it was good that the right people for us were getting shots.”
Ewing tallied 28 to lead the Tupelo offense, with Reno adding a smooth 20. Tucker led Hickory Flat in scoring with 16.
Tupelo is scheduled to host South Panola Tuesday in its Region 2-6A home-opener.
• (B) Belmont 72, Myrtle: The Belmont Cardinals almost gave up a 20-point lead in the second half, but right its ship just in time to hold off a Myrtle Hawks’ comeback.
From a 12-12 score in the first quarter, Belmont (12-5) went on a 17-1 run, capped by an Ethan Collier bucket to lead 29-13. But on the strength of a 13-0 run to close the third quarter, Myrtle fought back, and a pulled within two points three times in the fourth period.
Then in the final three minutes, a pair of baskets by Wesley Brandon provided enough momentum to clinch the win.
Bryon Southward led Belmont with 15, while Heriah Dodson was tops for Myrtle (11-10) with 20.
• (B) St. Stanislaus 89, Pontotoc 54: A 24-9 first quarter deficit was too much for Pontotoc to overcome.
Daniel Grieves led St. Stanislaus with 26, and Shaq Crayton led Pontotoc with 14.
• Game summaries, Page 2B