By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
BATESVILLE – Matt Justice can cross a second goal off Tupelo’s checklist and has the opportunity to mark off another later this week.
Justice’s Lady Wave reached the 20-win plateau with their 59-36 victory over host South Panola in the Division 2-6A Tournament.
“Our main goals were to win division outright, get 20 wins and our third goal is to win the division tournament,” the second-year coach said. “We’re not looking past the division tournament.
“We know how important it is now to get that (playoff) game at home instead of having to travel.”
A victory against Columbus in the championship game Friday at 6 p.m. can assure Tupelo, the Daily Journal’s 10th-ranked girls team, of hosting a first-round playoff contest on next Monday night.
Tupelo (20-9) took advantage of offensive rebounds in building its lead against the Lady Tigers. Put-backs by Casey Marshall and Braxton Thomas helped THS lead 30-20 at halftime.
The Lady Wave eventually pulled away by outscoring South Panola (2-16) 13-2 in the fourth quarter.
Marshall had 17 points and Thomas scored 13 to go with 11 rebounds.
(B) South Panola 64, Tupelo 62, OT: The Tigers were in position to put No. 10 Tupelo away in regulation, but a missed one-plus-one opportunity led to an Alex Foster basket as the clock expired which sent the game to overtime.
An Isaiah Traylor 3-pointer with 17 seconds to play in the extra period broke a three-minute Tupelo scoreless streak and made it a two-point game.
Poor free throw shooting nearly cost the Tigers (12-9) again, but last chance shots by Antonio Green and Foster rimmed out.
“I think the guys fought really hard and they tried to pull it out,” Tupelo coach Jeff Norwood said. “We’ve just got to grow and learn from it and get better.”
Josh Madison led all scorers with 23 points for fourth-seeded South Panola, while Foster’s 13 paced the Wave (17-12).