By David Wheeler
Special to the Journal
The Tupelo Lady Wave basketball team have gotten off to a more than solid 9-0 start to the 2013-14 season.
In quality wins against teams like DeSoto Central, Lafayette, Shannon and Belmont, the underclassmen-dominated Lady Wave have displayed a stingy defense.
Tupelo will take that undefeated mark for a holiday tour against a trio of tough opponents, beginning tonight as the Lady Wave travel to face the Pontotoc Lady Warriors in a 6 p.m. tip.
“We’ll find out how good we are defensively,” Tupelo head coach Matt Justice said. “Pontotoc is a team that can beat you by 30 points if you are not ready, and is one of the best offensive teams we’ll see.”
The Lady Warriors (10-0) are currently No. 8 in the Clarion Ledger Super 10 rankings, have played in the previous two Class 4A state championship games, and are just the first of three tough pairings around Christmas for Tupelo.
On Dec. 27, Tupelo is paired against Ripley (8-1) in Booneville. And on Jan. 4, the Lady Wave will play at New Hope against the Lady Trojans (8-0), who are No. 4 in the Super 10.
“Coach Justice has told us these are going to be three tough teams, and that everybody needs to step up,” Tupelo junior guard Jaleigha Polk said. “We’ve been working really hard.
“The better our defense, the better we play.”
Polk leads the Lady Wave in scoring with 13.3 points per game, with junior Braxton Thomas at 12.1 and senior Bre Jernighan at 11.7.
“The team is definitely maturing faster, and the girls are coming out focused every game,” Justice said. “These games will be a good measuring stick as to how much we’ve grown.
“They will show if we’re ready to step up and be that tournament team.”
Tupelo does not begin its Division 2-6A schedule until Jan. 10 when they host Hernando. Tupelo defeated Pontotoc 58-52 last season.