Pontotoc tighten defense against Tupelo

By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – This certainly was not the one-point thriller played on Nov. 29, but it was the same result for the Pontotoc Lady Warriors.
Between whistles, the Lady Warriors executed on offense and played shut-down defense Friday to down the Tupelo Lady Wave 47-33 and remain undefeated.
“I thought we set the pace, and our defense was the difference in the game,” said Pontotoc coach Bill Russell, whose Lady Warriors had edged Tupelo earlier in the season. “We changed some stuff on defense that worked out better for us.”
Russell’s main defensive focus this contest was Tupelo senior Antoinette Riddle and freshman Jaleigha Polk, who had combined for 43 points against Pontotoc previously. In this contest neither scored in the first 15 minutes of play, and only combined for six points.
Offensively, one player who had little trouble with the flow of the contest was Pontotoc senior Quinndella Ford, who had six points in the first quarter as the Lady Warriors moved to a 10-6 lead.
Ford had another seven points in the third period, and a layup with 14 seconds left in the quarter by Marlee Hatcher pushed Pontotoc’s advantage to 36-15 at the end of the quarter.
“We knew we had a great opportunity tonight, but we’re obviously lacking confidence right now,” Tupelo coach Matt Justice said. “The difference tonight was that Ford made her layups, and we didn’t.”
Ford totaled 23 points on the contest, while Faith Cook led Tupelo with 11.
“We were just trying to limit Riddle’s touches tonight,” Russell said. “We shot the ball awful in the first half, and really didn’t have a good night offensively.”
Pontotoc (12-0) is off until Dec. 28 against Aberdeen, while Tupelo (8-4) is at West Point today before going into its Christmas break.
(B) Tupelo 81, Pontotoc 49: The Golden Wave (7-4) jumped on the Warriors with a 15-2 run to open the contest, and never looked back. Tupelo held a 26-10 margin after the first quarter, and a 44-22 lead at the half.
Rashon Coleman paced Tupelo with 15, and Shaq Crayton hit 11 for Pontotoc.