By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – In a terrific early season game, Tupelo High’s athleticism and depth proved to be the difference against Hickory Flat.
The Golden Wave (1-1) saw an 11-point lead evaporate in the second half before hanging on in the end for a 74-71 victory on its home floor.
“They had the opportunity to go deeper into their bench and not lose any speed and quickness, and that wore on us,” said Rebels coach Michael Seger, whose team fell to 1-1.
The Rebels played well in the first half, leading by as many as seven points with just more than five minutes to play before halftime. Anthony Tucker scored 19 of his game-high 28 points through the first two periods.
However, the Wave closed out the opening half – which saw four lead changes and four ties – with a 17-8 run, to take a 36-34 advantage into the locker room.
Rashon Coleman brought the Wave back with an 11-point second quarter. He finished with a team-high 20.
“I thought we did a great job early handling their pressure,” Seger said. “Their 2-2-1 at the end of the first half gave us some trouble.”
Michael Penilton tallied nine of his 15 points in the first half to pace the Rebels.
“I was proud of our big guys. They played a lot of minutes,” Seger noted. “Our ability to dominate inside was able to counter their ability to score on the perimeter.”
Dajon Reno (10 points) and Coleman each hit a pair of 3s, as the Wave nailed five collectively on the night.
The Wave received two baskets from Jordan Sadler (12 points overall) and four free throws from Antonio Green (8 points) to help seal the win.
(G) Tupelo 59. Hickory Flat 36: The Lady Wave opened up the second half on a 14-2 run and never looked back.
Faith Cook scored a game-high 22 for the Lady Wave (2-0), while Antionette Riddle (11) and Jaleigha Pack (10) also reached double figures.