By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
For a first-year head coach, Matt Justice has had a pretty optimistic outlook on the Tupelo Lady Wave’s basketball season.
That optimism continues today when the Lady Wave travel South to face the Murrah Lady Mustangs in a 6 p.m. game in the first round of the Class 6A North Mississippi Tournament.
“We match up with Murrah pretty well, even better than Columbus,” said Justice, who feels Tupelo’s height is about the same as Murrah’s. “I feel confident, the girls feel confident we can go down there and get a win.”
The Lady Wave (20-10) were sent on the road for this contest after losing Friday to Columbus 91-59 in the championship game of the Division 2-6A tournament. Murrah (18-8) is the 4-6A champion.
“Murrah has been a dominate program, and it will be a tough task for us,” Justice said. “The key for us in this contest will be rebounding, and stopping the ball in transition.”
Senior Antoinette Riddle leads the Lady Wave in scoring at 14.2 points per game, followed by freshman Jaleigha Polk at 10.6, and junior Casey Marshall at 10.3.
With a win over Murrah, the Lady Wave would advance to Friday’s semifinal round.
The Golden Wave are fresh off defeating Columbus 54-47 to win the 2-6A championship. That earned Tupelo a home contest Tuesday, hosting Madison Central in a 6 p.m. contest in the first round of the North tournament.
“We’ve been playing well in our gym the last few weeks,” Tupelo coach Grant Pate said. “We’re playing well as a team, and last week was an example of how our guys are coming together, all on the same page.”
Tupelo (22-8) seniors Rashon Coleman and Dajon Reno combined for 31 points in the win over Columbus, and are averaging 15.0 and 12.5 ppg, respectively, to lead the team in scoring.
“Madison Central (16-13) is a strong, physical team with a strong point guard and a 6-foot-9 post player,” Pate said. “They play a lot of guys, and change defenses well.
“We’ll need to play good defense, and continue to shoot the ball well.”
With a win, Tupelo would advance to Friday’s North semifinals.