By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – It was a very workman-like performance Thursday for the Tupelo Golden Wave.
And the payoff was a division victory.
In a contest originally scheduled for Tuesday, the Wave shook off the snow, and eventually shook off the South Panola Tigers 70-54 in Tupelo’s Division 2-6A home opener.
“We had some guys who normally don’t get to play, and in a division game, do a great job,” said Tupelo coach Grant Pate, who did juggle his lineup a bit against South Panola.
A pair of regulars for Tupelo (18-2, 2-0), senior Chris Brooks and junior Dajon Reno, paced themselves well, picking their spots to positively impact the fortunes of the Wave.
Reno and Brooks scored Tupelo’s first 10 points, and with a Jordan Garmon three-point play, the Wave held a 13-6 lead late in the first quarter. Isaiah Witherspoon came off the bench to spark Tupelo in the second period, scoring eight in the period, helping the Wave maintain its lead at 30-21 by halftime.
South Panola (4-6, 0-2) was not ready to roll over, and a 3-pointer by Deandre Harris with 5 minutes, 6 seconds left in the third quarter pulled the Tigers within 36-30. But Tupelo had an answer as a quick 7-0 run by Garmon, Reno, and Montez Gary pushed the Wave up to a 43-30 margin.
South Panola never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
“Brooks, who’s a senior, came forward and played the way he’s capable of playing,” Pate said. “He played a very smart game, and at the same time, he played a very hard game.
“Brooks and Reno, those guys really sparked us when the lead got close.”
Reno paced the Tupelo offense with 22, with Brooks adding 18. Jakerion Ales led South Panola with 18.
Tupelo continues its division slat at defending Class 6A state champion Starkville today. Starkville’s only loss last season was to Tupelo.
n (G) Tupelo 51, South Panola 33: Coming off a poor outing Friday at Columbus, then Tupelo Public School District practice restrictions because of the weather up until game day, the Lady Wave looked the worse for wear in the first quarter against South Panola.
But Lady Wave (9-10, 1-1) coach Stehpanie Murphy was able to smile in the second period. There, Tupelo did not allow the Lady Tigers a single field goal, outscoring the visitors 18-1 at one point, building a 26-14 lead by the half.
“No doubt we needed this win, and the kids needed the confidence,” Murphy said. “Our press gave us some good energy in the second quarter.”
Bria Ruff led the Lady Wave offense with 15, and Christa Brown was tops with 15 for South Panola.