By David Wheeler
Special to the Journal
TUPELO – Playoff pressure can make division tournament week pretty tough.
For the Tupelo Golden Wave, double that pressure with the opponent they face today at 8:30 p.m. in semifinal action of the Division 2-6A Tournament – the South Panola Tigers.
“South Panola will play you tough, and we’ve had a hard time stopping them in transition,” Wave head coach Jeff Norwood said. “But I think our team will be up for the matchup.”
THS-South Panola boys is one of four matchups at Tupelo today, with the four winners all advancing to Friday’s championship games in Tupelo, and earning a spot in next week’s 6A North Tournament.
But the Wave-Tigers might be the most competitive contest of the bunch. Tupelo (18-9) won both regular season meetings, but only by a combined total of 10 points.
“We’re at home, and I like my situation,” Norwood said. “The team has been playing better basketball, and I think they’ll be ready to play at the tipoff.”
With senior Isaiah Traylor and junior Antonio Green as two of the catalysts, Tupelo has reeled off nice victories of late against Corinth, Shannon, and Horn Lake, and has wins over Biggersville, Aberdeen, and Grenada over the course of the season.
Lady Wave meet Hernando
The Tupelo Lady Wave suffered their only their second loss of the season last week to No. 1-ranked Horn Lake, but still enter the 2-6A bracket as the No. 2 team in the state.
The Lady Wave (24-2) tip off their second season today at 7 p.m. against the Hernando Lady Tigers.
“Our focus from now on is one game at a time, and this is a put-out game,” Lady Wave head coach Matt Justice said. “I think we showed what we’re capable of, but I think the girls understand we need to let Horn Lake go.
“Now everybody has another chance, and we have to play our best basketball.”
Tupelo has defeated Hernando twice this season, but the Lady Tigers did hold a 21-8 lead after the first quarter of the Jan. 21 game before Tupelo won 81-61.
Junior Jaleigha Polk leads Tupelo in scoring a 14.6, with senior Bre Jernigan next at 10.6.
Grenada-South Panola girls begin action today at 4 p.m., followed by Grenada-Hernando boys at 5:30 p.m.