But these young teams traded punches in the fourth quarter Tuesday night like veterans.
In an early season battle of unbeatens, the Lady Warriors executed best down the stretch to edge the Lady Wave 60-59.
"I knew this game was going to be a battle," Pontotoc coach Bill Russell said. "Win or lose, we needed a game like this."
A tense fourth quarter was set up as the Lady Wave (6-1) rebounded from a 10-point halftime deficit to tie the score at 50-50 on a 3-pointer by Antoinette Riddle with 3 minutes, 48 seconds to play in the game.
The ensuing three minutes of action was at a high level.
Tupelo got key baskets from Riddle, Casey Marshall and Jaleigha Polk. Pontotoc (6-0) countered with good offensive execution, capped by four straight field goals by Quinndella Ford in post-up situations.
The Lady Wave pulled ahead 59-58 with 53 second left on a rebound and basket by Polk, a freshman, who was probably the shortest player on the court at the time.
After pounding the ball inside to Ford on several trips, Pontotoc swung the ball outside to open freshman Marlee Hatcher, who drained a jumper with 43 seconds left for a 60-59 lead.
Tupelo missed an ensuing shot, and Pontotoc was effectively able to run the clock out from there.
"We could have let Pontotoc put us away early in the second half, and I'm proud of the girls for not letting that happen," Tupelo coach Matt Justice said. "This is a loss we can learn from."
Ford paced Pontotoc with 28 points, while Riddle led the Lady Wave with a clutch 25.
(B) Tupelo 56, Pontotoc 51: The Wave (4-3) was able to forge a 46-37 lead after the third quarter, and hang on for the win from there.
Rashad Coleman and Dajon Reno each scored 17 for Tupelo. Trei Freeman led Pontotoc (2-4) with 13; Shaq Crayton added 11.