By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
BELMONT – Much to the delight of North Pontotoc coach Shane Montgomery, Chelsea Mabry showed her true potential when needed in the second half on Saturday.
Mabry scored 15 points and added five rebounds after the break to help the Lady Vikings edge past Tupelo 62-59 in afternoon action at the Belmont Lady Cardinal Challenge.
The 6-foot-3 senior post player missed most of the opening half with foul trouble but still finished with a team-high 17 points.
“The first half I was trying to block the ball a lot, but in the second half I just had to step back and keep my hands straight up,” said Mabry. “We’ve really worked hard and just came out here and put it all on the court.”
losing streak ends
The win broke a four-game losing streak by North Pontotoc (10-5), which had losses to defending Class 4A champion Pontotoc and 3A finalist Ripley in that stretch.
North Pontotoc led 27-22 after halftime, but the Lady Wave (12-8) forced ten lead changes and three ties the remainder of the contest.
Jaleigha Polk and Casey Marshall connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to open the third for Tupelo, the Daily Journal’s fourth-ranked team.
Under a minute later, Braxton Thomas’s two free throws gave the Lady Wave its first lead since the opening quarter.
A 7-2 run by the Lady Vikings, which included four points from Mabry, to end the period put them up 44-40 entering the fourth.
Tupelo took its final lead with 53 seconds to play following a Marshall basket and Thomas free throw, but Tia Davis drained four free shots in the final minute to pull North Pontotoc ahead.
“We had three or four opportunities there at the end, but we just couldn’t execute on them,” Tupelo coach Matt Justice said. “That’s where we’ve got to grow and mature.”
Marshall led all scorers with 22 points and Polk added 11 for Tupelo. Arriann Henry and Davis each dropped in 12 in the winning effort.