Special to the Journal
SHANNON – By halftime of the Shannon-Tupelo girls contest, the gymnasium at Shannon High School was at full roar.
By the time Xzavier Jones hit a shot from half court to tie the boys contest at the end of regulation, it was a seismic event.
The Shannon crowd was heard, but it was the Golden Wave who had the last word, surviving with a 69-65 overtime victory.
“Shannon fought hard, but I’m proud of my team, being able to do what it takes to win,” Wave head coach Jeff Norwood said.
Tupelo held a 35-21 lead late in the second quarter, but a 9-0 run in the third quarter helped to set up a dramatic finish in this Lee County rivalry.
The Raiders entered the fourth quarter trailing 49-44, and pulled within 55-54 on a Sean Watkins three-point play with 26 seconds left. Tupelo’s Antonio Green hit two free throws with 2.2 seconds left, but the fun was just beginning.
The inbounds pass to Jones left him trapped at halfcourt. Still, the Shannon junior hoisted a shot that probably drew ice with its height, finally ripping the net to send the contest into overtime at 57-57.
Tupelo recovered from the emotional shot, pushing its way to a 62-57 lead following points from Green and Malik Douglas. A Rocquis Coleman three-point play pulled Shannon back to 62-60, but hard work inside by Douglas had the Wave with a 68-61 lead with 1:02 left.
Two Coleman baskets, and Shannon eventually had a possession with which to tie the score again, but an Isaiah Traylor free throw sealed the win for Tupelo.
“All you can ask for is an opportunity to win the game,” Shannon head coach Cedric Brim said. “We came out in the overtime and had a turnover or two.
“Still, we had another shot to win it.”
Jones paced the Shannon offense with 30 points, while Traylor led Tupelo with 22.
(G) Tupelo 57, Shannon 50: The Lady Raiders threw a 13-0 third quarter run at the Lady Wave to take a 37-30 lead, but Tupelo survived down the stretch.
An Asia Partlow basket gave Tupelo (23-1) a 43-41 lead in the fourth quarter, and Shannon could never seriously dent that margin.
Jaleigha Polk paced Tupelo with 17, and Alexandrea Metcalf had 24 for Shannon.