BCS Arena to host high school challenge

By Gene Phelps

Daily Journal

Two of Northeast Mississippi’s top high school girls basketball programs – 3A Belmont and 6A Tupelo – will play Dec. 14 at Tupelo’s BancorpSouth Arena in the 2013 CrossTown Challenge, presented by Tupelosports.net.

“Belmont’s got a great program,” Tupelo coach Matt Justice said. “We want to play the best teams from around our area. It will be exciting for us.”

Tupelo, which has lost in the first round of the state playoffs the last two seasons, has four starters returning – point guard Bre Jernigan, guard Jaleigha Polk, wing Braxton Thomas and forward Marqueesha Hoskins. Look for freshman guard Alayjah Sherer to get a lot of playing time. The 6-footer can play all five positions on the court.

“We expect to build on what we did last year,” Justice said. “We want to win the division and the division tournament and hopefully get a home playoff game.”

Six-game slate

The 4:15 p.m. game between the Lady Wave and Lady Cardinals is one of six being played.

The remainder of the schedule is as follows: (B) Itawamba AHS vs. Pine Grove, 11 a.m.; (G) Florence vs. Alcorn Central, 12:45 p.m.; (B) Carbon Hill, Ala. vs. Shannon, 2:30 p.m.; (B) Olive Branch vs. Florence, 6 p.m.; (B) Tupelo vs. Sumter (Ala.) Central, 7:45 p.m.

Tickets are $7 – good for entire day – and can be purchased at the BCS Arena box office or through www.ticketmaster.com starting Nov. 8 at 10 a.m.

Mississippi State plays Southeastern Louisiana in a men’s basketball game Dec. 13 at the arena.

“We’re excited to showcase girls and boys basketball teams from across Northeast Mississippi during the 2013 CrossTown Challenge,” said Seth Gaines, the director of sports development for the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau. “From the Mississippi State game Friday night to the full day of high school hoops on Saturday, it will be a perfect weekend to watch some great basketball games in Tupelo.”

gene.phelps@journalinc.com