A solid defensive concept and effort carried the Wave through three periods Tuesday, and eventually to a 67-60 victory over the Booneville Blue Devils.
“We’ve got to continue to build on our consistency - get stops on defense and get a good rhythm on offense,” Tupelo coach Grant Pate said. “Our first nine guys played well, and our guys worked hard on defense.”
While the Tupelo (18-8) defense was limiting Booneville (16-9) to just two field goals in the initial five minutes of the contest, point guard Reed Clayton was scoring seven points to help the Wave to a 19-4 lead. The Wave continued that overall effort, eventually leading 46-25 at the half, and 65-45 after three quarters.
“Tupelo is so athletic, and you can’t simulate that in practice,” Booneville coach Michael Smith said. “You play Tupelo to make you better.”
Deontaye Ewing paced four Wave in double figures with 18 points, while Ryshawn Burress shot in 23 for Booneville.
(G) Tupelo 63, Booneville 44
The Lady Devils were looking confident early as Raleigh Downs bagged five 3-pointers in the first half for the visitors.
But the Lady Wave (18-7) recovered from a 17-8 first quarter deficit to finally take the lead in the third quarter. Then a 14-0 run to begin the fourth period iced the win for Tupelo.
“We started the game flat, and Booneville played a great first half,” Tupelo coach Stephanie Murphy said. “Then we picked up our intensity.
“It’s all about getting ready for the playoffs.”
Amber Jackson led the Lady Wave offense with 14, while Downs eventually totaled 20 points to lead Booneville (13-10).
Tupelo is in action Thursday in its home finale, hosting New Albany. The Lady Bulldogs are currently undefeated, and ranked No. 1 in the state in the Clarion Ledger Super 10.
“There’s going to be some issues for us on how we defend on the inside against them,” Murphy said. “They are so strong in the post.”