Lady Wave coach feeling confident about big week

JUSTICE

JUSTICE

By David Wheeler

Special to the Journal

The Tupelo Lady Wave basketball team survived division tournament week.

What challenges await the 26-2 squad this week?

There is the potential to face three of the top five teams in the state, beginning with the No. 5 Olive Branch Lady Conquistadors today in the first round of the Class 6A North Mississippi Tournament.

Tupelo and Olive Branch tip at 6 p.m. at Tupelo High School as each tries to get a step closer to the state tournament in Jackson.

“I think the girls know this is a win or go home game,” Tupelo Lady Wave head coach Matt Justice said. “I’m feeling pretty confident right now.”

The Lady Wave are No. 1 in the Daily Journal area rankings, and No. 2 in the state in the Clarion Ledger Super 10. The winner of the Tupelo-Olive Branch contest could face No. 3 Clinton on Friday, and No. 1 Horn Lake on Saturday.

But first for Tupelo, there is Olive Branch (24-4), which the Lady Wave defeated 57-53 on Nov. 21 in Oxford.

‘Back and forth’

“We know Olive Branch is tough, and they can send us home easy,” Justice said. “It was back and forth with them the entire game, and we turned the ball over a lot to them.

“The game was tied with a minute to go, and we were able to steal the ball two times to get the lead. We have to use our experience and handle their pressure.”

Junior Jaleigha Polk leads Tupelo in scoring at 14.3 per game. Olive Branch has three underclassmen in double figures, led by freshman Myah Taylor at 13.7.

“We need to slow down their two guards,” Justice said. “The matchup of guards will be huge in this game.

“Both of us are not overly big, and the play on the boards will be big as well.”