TUPELO – Tupelo watched a 12-point halftime lead evaporate late – down to two points twice – in Monday’s game against freshman-loaded Booneville.
The Golden Wave, however, made enough plays in the final four minutes to claim a 58-54 victory against the young Blue Devils.
“We’re still learning how to win, how to play with a lead,” a relieved Tupelo coach Jeff Norwood said. “This game had some good elements to help us build and become better.”
Tupelo (4-3), led 47-45 at the 3:45 mark after Blue Devils freshman Cameron Miller scored on a baseline drive for a layup.
The Golden Wave responded by making 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch and two layups by seniors Isaiah Traylor and J.J. Ashby.
Booneville (5-3) had cut Tupelo’s lead to two points earlier in the fourth quarter on a jumper by Bonner Powell, but the Wave answered with its big scorer, Antonio Green. The talented junior, who scored a game-high 19 points, hit a mid-range jumper and two free throws to extend his team’s lead to six points.
‘Like a machine’
“From 15 feet he’s awesome,” Norwood said of Green. “It almost always goes in. He’s like a machine from that range.”
The Blue Devils scored just three points from 3:45 to the 42-second mark. A pair of late 3-pointers closed the gap.
“We just couldn’t get over the hump, we had opportunities too,” said Booneville coach Michael Smith, whose lineup featured three freshmen at times. “We put ourselves in position to win … we just didn’t make the plays.”
Miller scored 17 and Powell 13 for Booneville while Traylor added 16 for Tupelo.
(G) Tupelo 69, Booneville 34: Jaleigha Polk and Braxton Thomas scored 15 points each to lead the unbeaten Lady Wave (7-0). Asia Partlow added 10.
Tupelo led 35-14 at the half after a sluggish start. The Lady Wave trailed 9-6 following a 3-point play by freshman Adallice Young.
“You could tell we had been off for 13, 14 days,” Wave coach Matt Justice said. “We came and played hard and with a good effort.”