By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
Matt Justice is very disappointed about losing to the Columbus Lady Falcons 67-63 in overtime of the Division 2-6A championship game Friday.
Everyone hates to lose.
But the Tupelo Lady Wave head coach likes the way his team is competing at this point on the calendar as they head into today’s 7 p.m. game at the Clinton Lady Arrows in first round play of the Class 6A North Tournament.
“We could have rolled over and let Columbus beat us badly,” said Justice, whose Lady Wave are 1-2 against the Lady Falcons. “Clinton is young like us, and I think we match up with them well.”
The potential to call this matchup even is very strong, with both teams sporting a 20-10 record.
Tupelo is coming off that Columbus loss, where team leading scorer senior Casey Marshall bagged 26 points.
Clinton last lost Feb. 5 to Madison Central 68-41, and is led in scoring by junior Alivia Hughes at 16.8 points per game.
“Clinton is very fast, and likes to push the ball,” Justice said. “They also like to get to the rim and crash the boards.
“The game could come down to out post players. Braxton Thomas and Marqueesha Hoskins have been doing a good job lately, and Thomas has really stepped it up the last five or six games.”
Both Thomas and Hoskins are sophomores.
The winner of the Tupelo-Clinton contest moves to a 7:30 p.m. game Friday against the winner of the Horn Lake-Northwest Rankin contest. Columbus-Greenville and Southaven-Madison Central are on the other side of the 6A north bracket.
One year ago, the Lady Wave were also on the road for this round of the playoffs, losing 63-44 at Murrah.
“Our girls remember that game,” Justice said. “Us going down for a road game last year gave us some experience for this year.
“I’m not worried, I think our girls will be able to handle the atmosphere.”