By Brandon Speck
CORINTH – Daniel Simmons got the first dunk of the inaugural Lighthouse Thanksgiving Classic, but Tupelo got the first win.
The Class 6A Golden Wave beat defending 1A champion Biggersville, 78-59.
“I thought our guys played a nice floor game,” Tupelo coach Jeff Norwood said, “played together, guarded, rebounded. We got out on the break some. I thought we played very unselfish and it showed.”
Approximately 1,500 people piled into Corinth High School for the opener of the two-day tournament, named by MaxPreps as one of the five best tournaments of the Thanksgiving weekend, nationwide.
Tupelo (3-1) led by 15 at the half and stymied every Biggersville run, beating the Lions (5-1) to the other end.
Biggersville coach Cliff Little said he was surprised his team stayed within 50, the way it played.
“We got challenged and we didn’t step up,” Little said. “In my opinion, the clock kept running, but we quit. That’s the worst 20-point butt-whooping I’ve ever gotten.”
Simmons’ slam got the Lions within 51-37 in the third, but off one of several point-blank misses for Biggersville, Antonio Green converted on the other end for a 64-45 Tupelo lead.
After a missed dunk and layup early in the fourth quarter, Tupelo got a bucket inside from JJ Ashby.
Biggersville scored four points in the fourth.
“I’m not upset about shots. That’s not what bothers me,” Little said. “Some nights, they’re going to fall, some nights they’re not, but you can guard every night. We didn’t guard, didn’t play a lick of defense.”
Tupelo put four players in double figures, led by Isaiah Traylor’s game-high 18. Game MVP Green capped off his 17 points with a posterizing baseline slam. Ashby had 17. Traylor hit two 3s in the first quarter. Malik Douglas added 11.
Simmons had 18 for Biggersville. Emmanuel Simmons scored 15.
“We played hard. We played together,” Green said. “We played hard the whole game.”