Special to the Journal
HORN LAKE – The Tupelo Golden Wave appeared to be in cruise control Tuesday night in their first-round matchup in the 6A North Mississippi Tournament.
Then the Horn Lake Eagles shifted into a gear Tupelo just did not have.
Horn Lake used significant scoring runs in each of the final three quarters to run away from Tupelo 69-47, ending the Wave’s season.
“We did control the tempo early for a minute, but it really was their tempo more than ours,” Tupelo head coach Jeff Norwood said. “We don’t have the guns to play at the tempo Horn Lake likes.”
The Wave were looking to advance a step closer to the state tournament, and began this matchup in a poised manner.
Senior Isaiah Traylor and junior Antonio Green each hit 3-pointers in the first quarter as Tupelo moved to a 15-9 lead. A Green drive and layup gave the Wave a 17-11 lead to began the second, and free throws by Traylor kept Tupelo ahead 19-14.
Then Horn Lake hit turbo boost.
The Eagles used 3-pointers by Justin Edmond and Xavier Sullivan to take a 25-19 lead. That was part of a 17-0 run by the Eagles.
The last six minutes of the second period saw Horn Lake close on a 20-4 run, giving the home team a 34-23 halftime advantage.
“We started executing better on offense and our defense was able to get a spurt going for us,” said Horn Lake head coach Torri Harris, whose Eagles had lost to the Wave the final week of the regular season. “That was better then watching film getting ready for this game, it showed us how we could attack them.”
Horn Lake continued to attack, with a 12-2 run in the third giving the home team as much as a 50-29 lead. The Eagles then sealed the deal in the fourth quarter with a 19-0 run.
Traylor led the Tupelo offense with 16 points, with Hawkins totaling 19 to lead Horn Lake.
“We went from 8-8 to a pretty good season,” Norwood said. “We’ve got to be strong if we’re going to run and gun.
“Playing people twice our size, I guess we’ve got to be in twice the shape. Next year, I think we’ll be able to play at whatever pace we want, but our main goal is to get stronger.”