TUPELO – It was a successful debut to the 2010-11 basketball season for the Tupelo Golden Wave and the Lady Wave.
Hosting the Smoothie King Tip-Off Classic on Saturday, the Wave surged past the Olive Branch Conquistadors 82-50, while the Lady Wave held on for a 49-45 victory over Olive Branch.
“We played hard, and we played focused,” Tupelo coach Grant Pate said. “And we played as a unit, and that was one of the more important things.”
The Wave were never really fazed, opening up an early 12-2 lead behind a pair of baskets by Shane Butler. Coming out of halftime, Tupelo really put the contest away with a 13-2 run with Chris Brooks scoring a pair of field goals during the run, that pushed Tupelo’s lead to 54-27.
“We had some questions with some of our positions coming into this game,” Pate said. “And guys really responded in those areas.”
Tupelo junior Dajon Reno came off the bench to toss in 22 points. Junior Rashon Coleman slashed and drove to add 16 for Tupelo, which led 43-25 at the half.
Lydarien Tennial was tops for Olive Branch with 15.
The girls’ contest was a little more in doubt.
Perhaps shaking off some season-opening rust, the Lady Wave did lead all of the first half, but it was only a 24-21 margin at the intermission. The game stayed tight into the second half, and the Lady Wave found themselves trailing at one point in the fourth quarter 41-38 with 5 minutes, 56 seconds to play.
But a Kristen Lockridge rebound and basket tied the score at 41-41, with 4:23 left. Then a pair of drives and layups by junior Chy Cunningham pushed Tupelo ahead 45-41 with 3:35 remaining.
Then after a fast-break basket by sophomore Casey Marshall with 1:19 left that gave the Lady Wave a 47-42 advantage, Tupelo could breath easier.
“I feel good that we won, I feel good that we played that bad and won,” Tupelo coach Stephanie Murphy said. “Olive Branch killed us with their rebounding in the second and third quarters.
“We’re still super small, and we’re not going to grow any, so we have to be more physical. And we didn’t run our offense good, and that’s just taking a while to get the chemistry down.”
Cunningham paced the Lady Wave offense with 13, and Marshall added 11. Tiesha Tunstall led Olive Branch with 15.
Both Tupelo teams are in action again Monday in the Tupelo Tip-Off Challenge.
DAVID WHEELER / NEMS Daily Journal