By Paul Jones/Special to the Journal
COLUMBUS – In the first Division 2-6A meeting with Columbus, the Tupelo Golden Wave were rarely threatened and waltzed to an easy victory. With Tuesday night’s rematch on the road, Tupelo knew the going would be tougher but they still found the same result.
The Golden Wave outscored Columbus 11-1 in the final 2:21 of the game en route to a critical 49-41 victory. Tupelo moved to 15-6 overall and 4-0 to clinch the top seed in the division while Columbus fell to 9-9 and 3-2.
“We got some guys that have been in some tight ball games,” said Tupelo head coach Grant Pate. “And they played that way tonight and they played experienced. We had some seniors that really stepped up tonight and really put it on the line.”
Trailing 36-34 entering the fourth quarter, both teams took turns holding the lead and the Falcons held a 40-38 advantage with two and half minutes left in regulation. But that’s when Tupelo’s Rashon Coleman drained a three-pointer from the left wing, giving the Golden Wave a 41-40 lead and a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way.
Coleman had a trio of three-pointers in the second half and finished with a game-high 19 points.
“This was real big and coming into this game we knew it would be hard,” said Coleman. “We blew them out at home but we knew it wouldn’t be that easy at their place. So we had to hang tough for the whole game and toughen up down the stretch.”
Chaz Jones hit four free throws in the final 93 seconds while Coleman added two free throws to help Tupelo ice the game away.
Dajon Reno also finished in double digits for Tupelo with 10 points while Jordan Sadler added eight.
“Columbus gives you everything they got and they are well-coached,” said Pate. “They are very athletic and they get after you and this is always a hard place to play. So I just commend our guys for staying focus, rebounding when we needed to rebound and hitting shots when we had to have them.”
Remadus Beasley led Columbus with 12 points but was the lone Falcon in double digits.
(G) Columbus 69, Tupelo 41: The host Lady Falcons (15-2, 5-0) raced to a 26-10 advantage after one quarter and never looked back to clinc the top seed in the division.
Kiandria Patterson led Columbus with 25 points and teammate Maggie Proffitt added 19.
Antionette Riddle had 11 points to pace Tupelo (14-7, 2-2) and Jaleigna Polk had 10 for the Lady Wave.