By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – How crazy-competitive can Northeast Mississippi basketball be at times. On Tuesday, Corinth defeated Shannon in overtime. Then on Thursday, Shannon edged the Tupelo Golden Wave.
And now within a four-day span, this triangle reached the height of its wonderful unpredictability Friday as the Wave out-matched the Warriors 69-50 in the regular-season finale for both squads.
“They showed a lot a maturity tonight,” Tupelo coach Grant Pate said of his players. “We try to teach more than basketball, and this was a great lesson learned.”
Conversely, Corinth head coach Keith Greene was left scratching his head.
“Tupelo played well, but I don’t think we brought anything tonight,” Greene said. “Was it a hangover effect?
“We had three days since we beat Shannon. Grant shows you a lot of looks on offense, and we didn’t play the high-ball screens on Coleman and Reno well.”
Tupelo (20-8) gradually took control of the first half. With Rashon Coleman scoring 10 points, the Wave moved to a 34-24 halftime lead.
Corinth (23-4) had a response in the third quarter. With Deione Weeks hitting two baskets, the Warriors pulled within 41-37 on a Jose Contreras rebound and basket.
With no apparent hangover from its tough game the night before, Tupelo responded to the Corinth surge. Coleman hit a pair of field goals, and Dajon Reno added a 3-pointer as the Wave bumped its margin up to 48-40 entering the final quarter.
There, Tupelo opened the period on an 11-2 run, highlighted by a Josh Hamilton rebound and dunk.
“Corinth plays so hard and so well together, they had several weapons we had to address tonight,” Pate said.
Coleman paced five Wave in double figures with 18 points, while Weeks had 25 for Corinth.
(G) Tupelo 62, Corinth 47: Jaleigha Polk helped the Lady Wave offense get in gear early with nine points in the first period as Tupelo grabbed a 17-8 lead.
Then early in the third quarter, Tupelo (19-9) had a 9-0 run that included three straight baskets by Antoinette Riddle that expanded the lead to as much as 44-22.
Riddle paced Tupelo with 21, and Erin Frazier was tops for Corinth with 19.