By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
MOOREVILLE – For an early November game, the Tupelo Golden Wave and Mooreville Troopers displayed some pretty salty basketball on Thursday night.
Even by Northeast Mississippi standards.
Showing no early season rust, the Wave played well early, then was clutch late to hold off the determined Troopers 71-64.
“The hardest thing about getting the lead, is keeping the lead with a young team,” first year Tupelo head coach Jeff Norwood said. “I can see our growth, this was a lot better team effort.”
With game situations already under their belt, the Wave (2-1) shot lights out early.
Tupelo opened the contest hitting 10 of their first 11 shots., which included three baskets each by Jordan Garmon and Sean Watkins. Isiah Traylor’s 3-pointer capped the opening run, and Tupelo held a 26-8 lead.
Playing its season opener, Mooreville finally found its game legs, but another short burst of Tupelo tempo to open the second quarter was capped by a Carter Clayton steal and basket for a 38-21 lead. Mooreville (0-1) did not back down after that.
Chipping away at the margin, Mooreville closed the third quarter on a 10-2 run, with Devon Bartlett’s bank shot cutting the score to 51-47.
Kelsy Scott powered in for a layup for the first basket of the final period to cut the margin to 51-49, potentially setting up a raucous final six minutes.
But Tupelo sophomore Antonio Green had other ideas, coolly draining two 3-pointers that pushed the margin up to 57-51. And in the closing 1 minute, 9 seconds, Traylor sank six straight free shots to seal the win.
“We kept battling, and I’m very proud of our boys,” Mooreville head coach Jeff Tally said. “I don’t think we’ll see anybody in our classification with as much talent as Tupelo.”
Green paced the Tupelo effort with 25 points, with Brandon Moore bagging 22 for Mooreville.
(G) Tupelo 60, Mooreville 39: The Lady Wave’s quick tempo was in the face of the Lady Troopers in the first half, with Tupelo (3-0) moving to a 27-12 halftime lead.
Jaleigha Polk paced Tupelo with 11, with Savannah Webb hitting 12 for Mooreville.
Both Tupelo teams are in action Saturday at Neshoba Central, with 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. game times against Gulfport.