Special to the Journal
NEW HOPE – Did the Tupelo Lady Wave come into Saturday’s matchup with the New Hope Lady Trojans thinking they had seen everything that could be thrown at them?
If so, the Lady Trojans were ready with a reality wake up call.
In a pairing of top teams in Mississippi, New Hope won virtually every phase of the game, handing Tupelo its first loss of the season 67-46.
“If you want to be one of the elite teams in the state, you have to able to go into a hostile environment and match their intensity,” Lady Wave head coach Matt Justice said. “New Hope came to win, and matched or exceeded our intensity the entire game.
“Give them credit, they played like a No. 5 team in the state.”
Both squads were in the Clarion Ledger Super 10, with New Hope at No. 5 and Tupelo at No. 9. And the first half lived up to a Top 10 pairing.
Tupelo (11-1) took an early 10-6 lead after a Braxton Thomas basket. But New Hope (12-1) responded with an 8-0 run at the Lady Wave before field goals by Bre Jernighan and Marqueesha Hoskins knotted the score at 14-14 through the first quarter.
With New Hope senior D. J. Sanders scoring seven in the second quarter, New Hope never trailed and carried a 29-23 lead into the intermission.
Thomas scored the first basket of the third period to pull the Lady Wave within 29-25.
The Lady Trojans then took Tupelo to school.
New Hope ripped off an 18-2 run, with its press extremely troublesome for the Lady Wave. Sanders was effective in the press, scoring four field goals during the run, and New Hope carried a 52-33 lead into the final quarter.
Sanders led the Lady Trojans with 28 points, while Thomas managed 10 to lead the Lady Wave.
“We can look at this game as motivation with division play about to start, or you can let it get you down,”Justice said.
(B) Tupelo 78, Neshoba Central 70: The Golden Wave (8-7) faced a 30-27 halftime deficit before rallying with a strong third quarter.
Antonio Green scored 12 points in the quarter, including two field goals during an 11-0 run that propelled Tupelo to a 52-40 lead. Then in the closing seconds of the period, Green drained two free throws to cap a 31-point quarter, and Tupelo led 58-46.
Tupelo had as much as a 69-53 lead in the fourth quarter.
Green paced the Tupelo offense with 16 points, while T. J. Ben shot in 28 to lead Neshoba Central.
Both Tupelo teams will be at DeSoto Central Tuesday, then open Division 2-6A play hosting Hernando Friday.