Special to the Journal
TUPELO – It is usually not the case that a team can win a basketball contest in the first half.
The Tupelo Golden Wave might have disproved that theory Tuesday night, running to a big lead then holding on for a 67-54 victory over the Shannon Red Raiders in a pairing of Lee County rivals.
“It’s good to see the guys play hard and play together,” Golden Wave head coach Jeff Norwood said.
Tupelo (2-1) ripped through the first quarter with an 18-4 lead, including a pair of baskets by freshman Tristan Upchurch. Older brother Easton Upchurch, a sophomore, had a pair of baskets in the second period, as the Wave improved its margin to 35-15 at the half.
“We didn’t execute well, and our defense didn’t play as well as needed,” Shannon head coach Cedric Brim said. “You can’t get down like that and beat a good team.”
Shannon (1-1) did try to respond in the second half.
With Rocquis Coleman tossing in 13 points in the third quarter, Shannon pulled within 47-42 by the end of the period. The Raiders pulled within four points twice in the final quarter, the last time with 4 minutes, 56 seconds left on a Sean Watkins goal at 53-49.
J. J. Ashby had the answer for the Wave with three straight baskets.
Ashby paced the Wave with 14, while Coleman tallied 28 for Shannon.
(G) Tupelo 75, Shannon 66: The Lady Wave (3-0) led by as much as 27-14 in the second quarter, but saw the Lady Raiders (3-2) pull within 57-56 with 5:55 left in the fourth quarter on a Breah Mitchell basket.
Lady Wave freshman Alajah Sherer responded with seven straight points, and the hard-playing Lady Raiders could not pull within four points after that.
“I was expecting this to be a dogfight,” Lady Wave head coach Matt Justice said.
Sherer led the Tupelo offense with 19, while Mitchell hit 18 for Shannon.