By David Wheeler
Special to the Journal
TUPELO – The Tupelo Lady Wave expected a tough matchup in the first round of the Class 6A North Mississippi Tournament.
They were not expecting to have the Olive Branch Lady Quistors leave such an impact crater as they fell on the Lady Wave on Monday night.
Olive Branch ended Tupelo’s season in pretty convincing fashion, taking a 74-62 victory.
“It is tough when you have such a good season,” said Tupelo head coach Matt Justice, whose Lady Wave finished 26-3. “I really felt we had the opportunity to do something special this season.”
Olive Branch (25-5) picked a fine evening to bust its 55 points per-game average, especially with its effort in the first half.
Olive Branch trailed just 10-9, when it unleashed a key barrage of 3-pointers.
In a five-minute span, the visitors hit seven treys. Mahogany Vaught hit three of those shots, and Savanna Geeslin’s 3-pointer with 7 minutes, 12 seconds left in the second quarter gave Olive Branch a 32-19 lead.
Tupelo closed the half on a 10-2 run to trail 2-29.
“I grew up in Booneville, so I knew what Tupelo would be like in this type of game,” Olive Branch head coach Blake Jones said. “Once we had a double-digit lead going into the fourth quarter, I knew it was up to us to lose this game.”
Rally falls short
Olive Branch carried a 51-40 into that fourth quarter, and the Lady Wave tried to keep the game in doubt. Two Braxton Thomas baskets in the first two minutes cut the deficit to eight points twice, but Tupelo could pull no closer.
“I said going in guards would be the deciding factor, and their guards held Jaleigha Polk scoreless, maybe just the second time in her career,” Justice said. “We never got in a flow of running our offense.”
In her last game for Tupelo, Bre Jernigan scored 19 points, while freshman Myah Taylor had 28 to lead Olive Branch.
Olive Branch faces Clinton on Friday in a North semifinal.