By Paul Jones/Special to the Journal
COLUMBUS – Moments after putting away a pesky Columbus team Friday night, the Tupelo boys’ basketball team shared a few smiles and high fives. But the look in their eyes was telling.
Yes, the Golden Wave was excited to post a 54-47 win over Columbus and claim the Division 2-6A championship.
But Tupelo also has other goals left on the table and that process continues next week. With the win, Tupelo (22-8) will host a first-round game Tuesday night in the Class 6A North State tournament.
“We have several goals and there are some more after this,” said Tupelo head coach Grant Pate. “We let them know there are other goals still out there.
“And we knew it wouldn’t be easy tonight coming down here. We knew it would be a war.”
Tupelo held a comfortable lead for much of the night and carried a 28-18 advantage into the halftime break.
Then the Golden Wave increased their lead to 42-29 in the early moments of the fourth quarter.
That’s when the host Falcons stepped up their defensive pressure and clawed their way back. Columbus managed to get as close as five points with 1:37 left in the contest.
However, after missing the front end of a 1-and-1, Tupelo’s Rashon Coleman knocked down six free throws in the final 38 seconds to ice the victory.
“When they came back on us I knew I had to knock down some big free throws to help us win the game,” said Coleman. “When I missed the first one I thought I was in for a long night. But I went to free throw line and knocked them down. It was frustrating at first but then I knocked down six in a row.”
Coleman finished with 16 points to lead Tupelo while Dajon Reno added 15 points.
Deontae Jones and Brandon Porter each had 12 points to lead Columbus (11-11).
(G) Columbus 91, Tupelo 59: The Lady Golden Wave had no answer for Columbus sharp-shooting guard Maggie Proffitt and fell in the Division 2-6A championship game.
Proffitt knocked down seven three-pointers and finished with a game-high 38 points for the Lady Falcons (21-2). Kiandria Patterson added 22 points.
Tupelo (20-10) was led in scoring by Faith Cook’s 20 points.
The Lady Wave will open the Class 6A North tournament on the road at Murrah.