By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – His basketball statistics from Friday would be buried in a box score, but the second half turned in by the Tupelo Golden Wave Friday was all about the inspired play of Josh Hamilton.
Propelled by the hustle of the senior, the Golden Wave rebounded from a 16-point third quarter deficit against the Grenada Chargers to claim a 64-55 Division 2-6A victory.
“Josh brings a lot to our team,” Tupelo coach Grant Pate said. “He’s a very unselfish kid, and he brings the energy out of our team.”
Tupelo (14-6, 3-0) certainly lacked many things, including energy in the first half, trailing 30-17 at the intermission. And early in the third quarter following a 3-pointer by Cornelius Bryant, Grenada (9-9, 1-2) held a 35-19 lead.
Enter, Hamilton, who was whistled for two quick fouls in the first quarter. The senior began dominating the defensive paint for the Wave, grabbing rebounds and altering Chargers shots.
Hamilton’s hustle netted him a fast break layup to pull the Wave within 39-30. That was also the beginning of a 14-0 run for Tupelo.
During the rally, Jordan Sadler bagged two baskets, Dajon Reno had a lob dunk, and Hamilton added another hustling layup. And with 1 minute, 11 seconds left in the period, Devonta Fields capped the run with a layup that gave Tupelo a 42-39 lead.
“Our defense was nonexistent in the first half, and Grenada made us pay for it,” Pate said. “The key was we were able to score in transition. It’s not easy to fight back from 16 down.”
Grenada pulled back ahead in the fourth quarter 46-44, but a Hamilton dunk with 5:04 to play gave Tupelo the lead for good at 50-48.
Dajon Reno had 19 points to lead Tupelo, while Tyrin Jones hit 17 for Grenada.
(G) Tupelo 70, Grenada 43: The Lady Wave responded to third quarter pressure by the Lady Chargers with an 11-0 run that Grenada never could recover from.
Casey Marshall paced Tupelo with 22.