Lady Wave prepares to play ball without Tan
Is there life after Tan White at Tupelo High School?
Tupelo's Lady Wave, the defending Class 5A state basketball champion, finds out next week when it begins play without its Parade All-America guard, who is now a freshman at Mississippi State.
Tupelo opens its season at 5:30 p.m. Monday against Pontotoc in the South Pontotoc Classic. In Tuesday's game, the Wave plays South Pontotoc at 8:30 p.m.
"You don't replace Tan," Tupelo coach Nanci Gray said. "Everybody else just has to contribute more. We have the personnel to fill the gap.
"These kids are ready for the challenge."
White's the lone starter Gray lost from her championship team.
Shera Edwards returns at point guard, along with forwards Shay Ashford and Tiffany Garth, shooting guard Kenyatta Pratt and center Kim Larry. Shayla Long comes off the bench.
Three of the Wave starters have seen limited practice time because of fall sports - Edwards (softball), Ashford (volleyball) and Larry (volleyball).
"We haven't been full force in practice," Gray said. "It affects you some."
Still, Gray is ready to tip off the season and says the South Pontotoc tournament will be a good test.
"There will be a lot of local talent there," she said. "It's a chance for you to see what you have to work on. It's going to be a challenge for us."
Tupelo plays its third game later in the week, Thursday, hosting rival Starkville in a non-Region 2-5A game.
In other Monday games in the South Pontotoc Classic, Myrtle plays Kossuth at 7 p.m. and South Pontotoc plays Ingomar at 8:30.
Tuesday's early lineup has Ingomar playing Kossuth at 5:30, followed by Pontotoc and Myrtle at 7.
Meet the Wave set
While on the subject of Tupelo basketball, the Golden Wave will hold its annual "Meet the Wave" night Friday prior to the football game between THS and Greenville.
It all starts at 5:15 p.m. when the eighth grade teams are introduced. The ninth grade is at 5:45, followed by the Lady Wave at 6:15 and the Golden Wave at 6:35.
The Lady Wave and Golden Wave will conduct brief scrimmages. There will also be a slam dunk contest.
Houston coach Rusty Funk has to get the "guts" award for electing to go for a 2-point conversion in the final seconds of his team's 29-28 win Friday against Amory.
The Hilltoppers scored a touchdown with 28 seconds remaining on a pass from Tyrle Harrell to Jeff Snow to cut Amory's lead to 28-27.
Instead of kicking the extra point, Funk elected to go for the win ... on the road.
Running back Antwon Harrell, a talented sophomore, broke three tackles and reached the end zone for the 2-point conversion and the winning points.
Funk said his defense wasn't stopping Amory, so he decided to go for the win.
You have to admire Funk's fighting spirit, but had the Hilltoppers failed, the Houston fans would probably have nominated their coach for the "nuts" award instead.
The Hilltoppers are now 3-1 in Region 2-3A play and looking to clinch a playoff bid this week with a win against Caledonia.
Area meets Saturday
Many of the state's top high school swimmers will be in Tupelo Saturday for the MHSAA's North Mississippi Swim Meet.
The meet, hosted by Tupelo High, will start at 1 p.m. at Rob Leake City Park pool near Joyner School.
Winners and those who make qualifying times will advance to the State Meet scheduled for Nov. 3 in Biloxi.
In cross country, Tupelo is hosting the region meets for 5A, 4A, 3A and 1A at Veterans Park. The competition starts at 3 p.m.
Gene Phelps is sports editor for The Daily Journal. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org