TUPELO – It is still very early in their basketball season, but the Tupelo Lady Wave played their best game thus far Thursday.
With good focus on the court, the Tupelo girls powered past the West Point Lady Wave 64-47 on the final day of the Golden Wave Tip-Off Challenge.
“The girls had more grit, and played extremely harder than our first two games,” Tupelo assistant Matt Justice said. “They are starting to try to set an identity for themselves.”
Justice was in charge of the Tupelo girls this contest as head coach Stephanie Murphy was away dealing with the death of a close family member. Tupelo shook off any distractions, and with sophomore Casey Marshall scoring nine points in the first quarter, were leading West Point 16-11 by the end of the period.
Three baskets early in the second period for Tupelo by Kristen Lockridge, Bria Ruff, and Chy Cunningham halted a potential momentum shift. Then Ariel Smith closed out the half with six straight points, and Tupelo led 35-21 at the break.
“The way we got out to our start in the game, we definitely came with motivation,” Justice said.
Murphy surprised the Tupelo (3-0) team members by appearing just prior to the end of the first half. The response out of the intermission was Tupelo going on a 7-2 run to open the third period, pushing its lead to 42-23, and the contest was never really in doubt the rest of the way.
Smith paced the Tupelo offense with 18 points, with Marshall adding 12, and Cunningham 11. Kelsei Ewings led West Point with 18.
Tupelo is at Brandon Saturday, and Murphy will miss that contest.
In other action
Other games saw the Golden Wave surge past the West Point Green Wave 90-58, the Okolona Chieftains down East Oktibbeha 72-50, and the Lady Chieftains edge East Oktibbeha 57-54.
The opening minutes of the second and third quarters were very decisive for the Tupelo boys in their victory.
After a closely fought opening period, a 13-0 run to open the second quarter saw senior Deontaye Ewing score six points as Tupelo (3-0) opened up a 32-15 lead. Then in the third period, Tupelo again went on a 13-0 run with Shane Butler scoring a pair of baskets that helped his team to a 52-23 lead.
Ewing went on to lead Tupelo in scoring with 26 points, and Rashon Coleman chipped in 16.
For the Okolona boys in its win, David Gardner scored 25. And leading the Lady Chieftains in victory was Quinndella Ford with 28 points.
David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal