By David Wheeler
Special to the Journal
TUPELO – The potentially long road through the playoffs for the Tupelo Lady Wave began with a bumpy ride.
Using the 3-point shot to gain a bit of space on the scoreboard, the Lady Wave were able to advance to the championship game of the Division 2-6A Tournament with a 63-48 victory over the Hernando Tigers.
“Hernando does not play like a No. 4 seed,” said Lady Wave head coach Matt Justice, whose team is the No. 1 seed in the bracket. “We were able to get the ball out and run at times, and build up some momentum.
“We made some big shots.”
With the win, the Lady Wave (25-2) will face South Panola ≠– which beat South Panola Grenada 55-26 – on Friday at 6 p.m. Both finalissts qualified for the Class 6A North Mississippi Tournament next week.
Hernando clogged up the lane defensively against the quick Tupelo forwards. Tupelo found an answer beyond the arc.
Freshman Alayjah Sherer came off the bench to hit two 3-pointers, helping Tupelo to a 19-13 first-quarter lead.
“Sherer was a spark, hitting shots off the bench,” Justice said. “Hernando was packing the inside so we had to take outside shots, and we had a few go down.”
Tupelo got a bit of an added spark to begin the second period as Jaleigha Polk, Braxton Thomas, and Bre Jernigan hit field goals for a 25-13 lead.
Tupelo eventually went into the intermission with a 39-22 lead, and held that for a 54-33 margin after three quarters.
Thomas led Tupelo with 16 points; Sherer and Jernigan added 11 each.
Savannah McCann led Hernando with 15.
In the nightcap, Antonio Green scored 19 points as Tupelo’s boys beat South Panola 68-58.
The No. 1 seed Grenada boys, who beat Hernando 61-42, play Tupelo at 7:30 p.m. Friday.