Special to the Journal
TUPELO – Tupelo head coach Jeff Norwood gave his veteran Golden Wave players an opportunity to begin their division schedule on a positive note.
With junior Antonio Green hitting some key points in the fourth quarter, the Wave began their Division 2-6A schedule on a positive note with a 66-57 victory over the Hernando Tigers.
“It was a pretty win, but it would have been an ugly loss,” Norwood said. “We can play better, we have to play better.”
Tupelo (8-7, 1-0) made some positive strides in the first quarter, with Malik Douglas knocking in a pair of baskets as a 13-0 run pushed the Wave to a 17-3 lead. But Hernando (7-10, 0-2) steadied itself, keeping the game close through the third quarter, where Tupelo held a 48-39 lead.
Hernando chipped away at the Tupelo advantage to begin the fourth quarter, and an Elijah Powell layup with 4:11 to play pulled the visitors within 52-50.
One of the more experienced players on the Wave roster, Green stepped up with back-to-back 3-pointers to push Tupelo back up 58-50 with 3:32 left. Alex Norwood and Green then connected on all eight of their free throws in the final 2:25 to secure the division victory.
“We did have some good defensive series, working as a unit,” said Jeff Norwood, talking about the positive aspects of the win. “But we gave up way too much penetration at other times.
“We got distracted by doing well.”
Green bagged 23 points to pace the Wave, with Claiborne Myers hitting 24 to lead Hernando.
(G) Tupelo 71, Hernando 53: In a game perhaps closer than the final indicated, the Lady Wave (14-1, 1-0) chalked up their initial division win.
Hernando (7-10, 0-2) was within 59-49 in the fourth quarter when senior Bre Jernighan hit a crucial 3-pointer with 3:00 left.
Braxton Thomas paced the Lady Wave attack with 22, and Savannah McCann hit 17 for Hernando. Tupelo led 42-25 at the half.