Special to the Journal
The high school basketball playoffs generally present new challenges.
The Horn Lake Eagles will not be a new challenge for the Tupelo Golden Wave.
Tupelo will travel to Horn Lake today for a first-round pairing in the Class 6A North Mississippi Tournament, with a 7 p.m. start time. But Horn Lake was a fairly recent opponent for Tupelo, with the Wave having defeated the Eagles 54-53 the last Tuesday of the regular season.
“I thought Horn Lake was one of the more athletic teams we faced,” Tupelo head coach Jeff Norwood said. “This will be a very tough game, having to go there.
“But this time of year, every game is tough.”
The win at the end of the regular season for Tupelo (17-10) was tough, trailing Horn Lake (19-7) by 10 points entering the fourth quarter. Tupelo never led in the second half until junior Antonio Green hit a 3-pointer with 1 minute, 15 seconds to play for a 52-51 lead.
“We got down by as much as 15 points in the third quarter,” Norwood said. “But we played really hard and got back in the game.
“Hopefully, we learned from that game, and we won’t get behind this time. We have to do a better job stopping their penetration and rebounding.”
The Wave finished the regular season with quality wins over Shannon, Horn Lake and Corinth. Tupelo is coming off a 67-62 loss to Grenada in the Division 2-6A title game.
Horn Lake is coming off a 66-65 win over DeSoto Central in 1-6A. Olive Branch was the No. 1 seed in that division.
The winner of Tupelo-Horn Lake will get the Murrah-Madison Central winner Friday. The other side of the North 6A bracket features DeSoto Central-Grenada and Starkville-Greenville Weston.