By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
COLUMBUS – Tupelo’s basketball teams lost two heartbreakers on Friday night in their Division 2-6A openers against Columbus.
In the girls’ game, guard Jaleigha Polk missed a short jumper in the final seconds as the scrambling Lady Wave departed as a disappointed one-point loser, 50-49, to the Lady Falcons.
“We had the shot we wanted at the end; she had a clear look,” Tupelo coach Matt Justice said. “But, that shot didn’t lose the game for us.”
Tupelo (9-7, 0-1) trailed high-scoring Kiki Patterson and the Lady Falcons 30-20 at halftime. The Dandy Dozen guard scored 23 of her game-high 31 points in the first half.
“We were timid, nervous,” Justice said. “It took us to the third quarter to settle down. I was proud of our effort. This is a tough place to play.”
It was Columbus (8-5, 2-0) who got rattled in the third quarter. Tupelo rallied with press and trapping defense to tie the score at 35-35.
The Lady Wave held Patterson to just one field goal in the second half, but it was a big one – a layup with 1 minute, 38 seconds remaining to give Columbus a 50-43 lead.
Tupelo answered behind the tough inside play of Braxton Thomas, who scored five of her team-high 14 points in the final two minutes, but fell short.
(B) COLUMBUS 42,TUPELO 37: The Golden Wave (9-8, 0-1) was in striking distance the entire fourth quarter of the defensive struggle, but connected on just one field goal in the final 2:16 – a layup by Antonio Green that cut the Falcons’ lead to 35-33.
Columbus (8-5, 1-1) clinched the win with five free throws by Brandon Porter in the final 38 seconds. He finished with 13 points while Devin Berry led with 15.
Green’s 9 and Quinn Tiggs’ 8 led Tupelo.
“We couldn’t make the most elementary of plays,” Tupelo coach Jeff Norwood said. “We didn’t make some plays when it was time to make them.”
Tupelo was held to four points in the third quarter.