Tupelo High basketball may be looking to tourney

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

Tupelo’s scheduled to wrap up its regular season tonight in Corinth, but excuse the Golden Wave if its looking ahead to next week’s Division 2-6A tournament in Starkville.
Beating the Warriors would be sweet. However, winning next week against South Panola in the first round of the postseason would be sweeter.
“We have to be prepared Tuesday, because it’s win or go home,” THS coach Grant Pate said. “You’ve got to be ready to play.”
In a four-team division tournament, the opening round is the putout game. The winners play for the championship and advance to the North half.
The Golden Wave, 24-3, enters the division tournament with a 6-0 league record – which includes 69-54 and 63-55 wins against South Panola – and the top seed.
“Being 6-0 is a tremendous accomplishment,” Pate said. “We’ve worked hard. We’ve got a great group of seniors who’ve been leaders for us.”
Two of those seniors are guard Deontaye Ewing, who is averaging 17.4 points per game and forward/guard Chris Brooks, who is averaging 11.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and has a team-high 61 steals.
Tupelo’s record also includes two victories against division opponent Starkville, the defending 6A state champion.
The Golden Wave defeated Calhoun City 70-68 Tuesday in its last outing.
“We’ve played some really good basketball in spurts,” Pate said. “We played well in third quarter against Calhoun City, but had a tough time closing the door. Now we’re trying to bring it all together and make sure we’re consistent in all areas – defense, offense, even on our out-of-bounds plays.”
And of course, Pate wants to guard against a letdown Tuesday in the 2-6A tournament opener against South Panola.
“One bad night can send you home,” he said.