Tupelo Lady Wave on rise

By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Last season, the Pontotoc Lady Warriors and Oxford Chargers were a combined 67-0. And claimed Class 4A and 5A state championships, respectively.
The Tupelo Lady Wave helped, going 0-3 against those squads.
The Lady Wave completed a sweep of those schools in the past week with a 60-55 victory over the Lady Chargers on Friday night.
“Tonight was another challenge for our girls to play hard and not let last year beat us,” said Lady Wave head coach Matt Justice, whose team lost to Oxford by 19 points a season ago. “Our girls are having fun.
“Games like this are making our team grow.”
With four sophomores in their top seven rotation, the Lady Wave (6-2) certainly have room to grow. But they certainly took time out from growing this week to throw their weight around.
Oxford (6-2) threw an 8-0 run at Tupelo in the second quarter, with a Janesha Johnson basket giving the Lady Chargers a 21-15 edge.
After Tupelo pulled within three points at the half, the Lady Wave shoved back with an 18-2 run. Jaleigha Polk had three baskets in the span, and a Zierra Long free throw with 37 seconds left in the third pushed Tupelo to a 46-35 lead.
Tupelo was able to maintain that basic margin for most of the fourth quarter, with the closest Oxford could pull at 59-55 on a Johnson basket with 22 seconds remaining.
“The key for us was forcing some passes that were not there,” said Oxford head coach Shayne Linzey. “We’ve got to cut down on our mental mistakes.”
Polk paced Tupelo with 18 points, while Alexus Malone hit 16 for Oxford.
(B) Tupelo 48, Oxford 41: After a tight first quarter, the Wave (6-3) gained a bit of an edge to lead 30-22 at the half, extending that to 46-29 by the end of the third period.
Brice Ford led Tupelo with 11, while Nick Brown scored 14 to lead Oxford (2-4).