By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
The summer photo album for Tupelo Lady Wave basketball coach Matt Justice could basically have the same pictures for three consecutive years.
Jaleigha Polk, Marqueesha Hoskins, Braxton Thomas and Asia Partlow are the core of a group of juniors to-be who now number 10, and that have been playing for the Lady Wave since they were freshmen.
During the just completed summer schedule, Justice feels that the Lady Wave made strides towards fulfilling the potential they showed two years ago.
“The pieces are there to compete,” Justice said. “Our first five are good, but we will need more production from the bench.
“I think we’ll have to go nine or 10 deep to compete, and that will be our focus entering the upcoming season.”
The conclusion of Tupelo’s summer schedule included a trip to Jackson where the Wave saw teams like Northwest Rankin, Clinton and Horn Lake that Justice feels the Lady Wave might see during a possible post-season run. It was a great chance for the Lady Wave to eyeball some of the best teams in the state, plus re-enforce ways to replace the graduation of veteran guard Casey Marshall.
“We played a tough summer schedule,” Justice said. “I think J. P. (Jaleigha Polk) stepped up to that leadership role, along with Braxton Thomas. “They’re starting to lead the team.”
Tupelo is coming off a 20-11 mark from the 2012-13 season, which saw it advance for the second straight season to a Monday road game in the North tournament. More is expected for 2013-14.
“Hoskins had a strong postseason and that carried over into the summer, and Asia Partlow came on strong at the end of the summer,” Justice said. “And when we played good during the summer, senior Bre Jernigan was playing good.
“I think they feel the pressure now. We talked about it going into the summer. They want to get in the gym more and they want to be that team.”