By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
SHANNON – In the midst of the BCS and NFL hype, some good old-fashioned Northeast Mississippi high school basketball was alive and well Friday.
The Tupelo Golden Wave rolled out of a halftime deficit and roared past the Shannon Red Raiders 72-61 in action between Lee County rivals.
“Give Shannon credit, they were ready to play,” Tupelo coach Grant Pate said. “We got down early in the game, and just tried to stay with them.
“Then we re-grouped at halftime, and got our defense back in focus. The key to our offense being in rhythm is our defense.”
The Wave (4-1) certainly were in tune in the second half after trailing 41-30 at the intermission. In the third quarter, Chris Brooks and Deontaye Ewing combined for 12 points as Tupelo chopped the Shannon (1-1) lead down to 51-50 by the end of the period.
Ewing kept his offensive momentum going in the final quarter. The Tupelo senior scored 14 in the quarter, at one point 12 straight Tupelo points.
Rashon Coleman put Tupelo in the lead for good at 52-51 on a floater in the lane, then Ewing went on his scoring run. By the time the senior guard drove in and converted a layup with just over three minutes, to play, the Wave were controlling the scoreboard at 64-54.
“Tupelo came out with more intensity than us in the second half,” Shannon coach Cedric Brim said. “They were getting every loose ball and rebound that we were getting in the first half.”
Ewing’s second half scoring lifted him to 38 points for the contest, with Brooks chipping in 11. Lakee Westbrook led Shannon with 19.
Shannon moved to a 20-12 lead after the first quarter, saw Tupelo knot the score at 20-20 in the second, then the Raiders regained control to lead by 11 at the half.
(G) Tupelo 43, Shannon 40
After a close first half that saw Tupelo lead 20-19, the Lady Wave (4-1) edged ahead in the third quarter to lead 33-24.
Shannon (0-2) could only cut the margin in the final period as close as 39-35 before Tupelo took the three-point win.
“We forced some turnovers in the third quarter, and got some easy baskets and free throws,” said Tupelo coach Stephanie Murphy, who was very critical of her team’s overall play. “Our press looked good toward the end of the third quarter.”
Chy Cunningham paced Tupelo with 11, and Aushiana Ivy led Shannon with 12.