Special to the Journal
TUPELO – It was a struggle in many ways Tuesday for the Tupelo Golden Wave basketball team.
But in the end, they found a way to stay in first place in Division 2-6A.
Outscoring the South Panola Tigers 15-3 in a crucial three-minute stretch of the fourth quarter, the Wave claimed a 61-54 victory and kept their league mark perfect.
“I think we struggle to get the right mind set sometimes,” Wave head coach Jeff Norwood said. “Soon, it will be lose and go home.
“We need more consistency in our thought process. We don’t have to be so cool all the time.”
The Wave (14-8, 5-0) had a cool 44-39 advantage entering the fourth quarter against South Panola (9-4, 1-2), but quickly saw that lead disappear. The Tigers began the final period on a 7-0 spurt, capped by a Joshua Madison drive to the basket with 4 minutes, 12 seconds to play to put the visitors up 46-44.
Tupelo caught its breath and recovered.
Tre Long had a steal and layup that tied the game at 46-46. That was followed by a pair of clutch 3-pointers by Antonio Green.
Isaiah Traylor later bagged a 3-pointer of his own with 1:06 to play for a 59-49 lead.
“Turnovers were key in the game,” South Panola coach Charlie Howard said. “They pressured us into 20 turnovers, and at especially crucial times of the game.”
Green led the Tupelo offense with 14 points, 11 in the fourth quarter. R. J. Scott paced South Panola with 20.
Tupelo can win the division with a win at Grenada next Tuesday.
(G) Tupelo 66, South Panola 30: The Lady Wave wrapped up the regular season 2-6A title.
“We want to make sure we end the season not playing flat, but playing with intensity,” Lady Wave coach Matt Justice said.
Asia Partlow and Alayjah Sherer each scored 13 to lead Tupelo (20-1, 5-0).
Tupelo plays Memphis Central in Pontotoc Saturday at 3:15 p.m.