By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – For the Tupelo Golden Wave and the Shannon Red Raiders, finding any type of offensive flow on Friday night was like pulling teeth.
So it was only fitting that a solitary free throw in the closing seconds decided the matter.
Junior J. J. Ashby’s free throw with 5.4 seconds to play lifted the Wave to a 52-51 victory in a contest that was a extreme demonstration of hard defense.
“A win right now was much better than a loss when you’re trying to grow like we are,” Tupelo head coach Jeff Norwood said. “It’s always been a good rivalry.
“They fight to the finish, and we’ll do the same thing.”
Shannon (19-7) trailed by five points as late as 46-41 with 4 minutes, 41 seconds to play. Gritty Raiders defense paid off with sophomore Zavier Jones hitting a shot from the wing with 1:32 left to tie the contest at 51-51.
critical free throw
Defense continued to dominate, with the Wave (16-10) crashing the boards on a shot, and Ashby getting sent to the line with the game on the line. The junior made the first, missed the second, and Shannon missed a potential winning 3-pointer.
“We battled, especially on defense,” Shannon head coach Cedric Brim said. “Our defense kept us in the game.”
Balanced Tupelo scoring saw Quinn Tiggs lead the way with 9 points, while Lakee Westbrook bagged 25 for Shannon, 13 in the fourth quarter.
Shannon led 17-9 after the first quarter, and 25-21 at the half.
(G) Tupelo 68, Shannon 64: The Lady Wave (17-8) recovered from a 51-41 third-quarter deficit to claim the win.
There were four lead changes in the final period, with Tupelo getting the lead for good at 62-61 with 3:26 left on a Marqueesha Hoskins rebound and basket. Hoskins added another basket, and Casey Marshall scored four points to ice the win.
Marshall paced the Lady Wave offense with 22, while Alexandrea Metcalf scored 22 points for Shannon.