BY JOHN WILBERT
TUPELO - Columbus High boys basketball coach Sammy Smith said the Tupelo High team made his team look like the worst team in the state of Mississippi on Tuesday night.
He may have a point as the Golden Wave won easily, 77-54, but that statement would have come as bit of a surprise before Tuesday's game when considering how the teams fared the last time they met on the hardwood.
The Falcons got the best of its Division 2-5A opponent on Jan. 9, 71-64, in Columbus. Plus, the Falcons had a 15-5 record entering Tuesday's contest.
Smith said the difference this time around was that Tupelo (16-6, 2-3), on its home floor, executed well, out-rebounded the Falcons (15-6, 1-3), made shots, made good decisions and were physical.
"Tupelo's so much better than us tonight," Smith said. "They were just so much head and shoulders better than us tonight.
"Our guys just weren't good enough and the team lost."
Despite leading scorer Jamie Ingram being held to only five points, the Golden Wave received double-figure performances from four other players. Deontaye Ewing led the Wave with 15, while teammates Ronnie White and Jeremy Foster each had 13.
Chris Brooks finished with 12.
"We had four guys in doubled figures and that's what we look for is balance," said Tupelo head coach Grant Pate. "We're trying to spread it around a little bit and be more of a balanced team."
Tupelo started Tuesday's game off with a 9-2 run and were up 16-7 after the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Wave took off with a 24-point quarter, highlighted by Ronnie White's eight points off the bench.
Tupelo led 40-18 at the half.
"It's hard to play up here," Smith said. "If you don't bring you're A' game it makes it that much difficult."
(G) Tupelo 50, Columbus 29
Despite a sluggish first half, the Lady Wave atoned for their Jan. 9 Division 2-5A loss to Columbus by blowing out the Lady Falcons 28-11 in the final two periods.
The Lady Wave, who lost 51-41 at Columbus, received eight points apiece from Mandy Collins and Amber Jackson in the second half to defeat Columbus 50-29 at Tupelo High School on Tuesday night.
Lady Wave head coach Stephanie Murphy said her team was not at full speed and not going hard during the first half.
In the second half Tupelo (18-4, 3-2) started clicking on both the defensive and offensive ends of the floor. Tupelo held Columbus (11-9, 2-3) scoreless in the third quarter until there was 1:20 left in the period. In fact, the Lady Falcons only had one field goal that quarter.
"I think our press kind of gave us a little boost, gave us some easy baskets and kind of got us settled in a little bit," Murphy said.
Collins, Jackson and Treneisha Trice led the Wave with 12 points apiece. Natalie Tate was Columbus' top scorer with 14.
"We came in. We had a game plan. It just didn't work out for us," said Columbus head coach Yvonne Hairston.
"Anytime you play at home you have homecourt advantage. It's just the factor of playing at home and playing away. That's the way it's supposed to be.
"It's tough to shoot in Tupelo because you're not used to the goals. I can't go make any excuses; we just didn't play well tonight. We're a lot better team than we showed tonight."