By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
Casey Marshall played her final home game on Tuesday for Tupelo’s Lady Wave.
Well, maybe not.
If Tupelo can win next week’s Division 2-6A tournament at South Panola, the Lady Wave’s senior guard can play one more game on her home court in the first round of the North Mississippi tournament.
“Winning the (division) tournament is the No. 1 goal,” Marshall said, after scoring 13 points in a win against New Albany on Senior Night. “I’d love to play another home game. I hope this wasn’t my last one.”
Of course, top-seeded Tupelo (18-9) has to defeat host South Panola in Tuesday’s 2-6A semifinals game to have a shot at returning home. A loss would end the Lady Wave’s season.
Tupelo lost in the division finals and had to play its first-round North state game at Jackson Murrah last season. The Lady Wave lost that game and was eliminated.
“Last year we were very young,” Marshall said. “This year everybody’s grown up more.”
Still, Marshall’s the lone senior and is joined by just two juniors.
Lady Wave coach Matt Justice believes last year’s postseason experience helped his young team.
“Our girls are ready and excited to play in the division tournament this year,” he said. “There are still some things we need to hammer in as we go into the playoffs, because we’ve got a younger group.”
The primary concern first-year Tupelo boys coach Jeff Norwood has for his team headed into the postseason is consistency.
The Golden Wave, the division’s top seed, plays at tournament host South Panola in Tuesday’s semifinals.
“I think we can play at a high enough level to advance,” Norwood said. “I don’t know if I’m going to get it or not. Sometimes we don’t get the focus we need.
“I think we’ve got a good group of guys who have a chance to accomplish something.”
The Golden Wave lost to Jim Hill last season in the 6A state championship game
SPEARS LEADS THE WAY
If the Jazmine Spears-led New Albany Lady Bulldogs (18-6) can have some success in the 2-4A tournament at North Pontotoc, they would host North state.
Spears, who averages 31 points per game, missed this week’s loss to Tupelo because of an illness in her family.
“I like our chances to win one game and get back to New Albany,” coach John Stroud said. “Then we’ll see what happens.”