TUPELO TEAMS THROW THE RECORDS OUT TO HOST 2-5A TOURNEY
By D.E. Wheeler
Looking at the regular season records the Tupelo Golden Wave and the Lady Wave had less than successful 1995-96 seasons.
But now, the Tupelo teams have the rest of Division 2-5A right where they want them in Tupelo. With this being division tournament week throughout Mississippi, the Golden Wave and Lady Wave are hosting the 2-5A Tournament Tuesday and Friday.
That means that despite the below normal season records, the Golden Wave and the Lady Wave have an important edge as all teams start 0-0 for the tournaments.
"I think our chances are very good at advancing," Lady Wave coach Sammy Pulliam said. "The chance to advance is what we've worked for all season."
The Lady Wave (8-15, 0-6 division play) have scared several quality teams during the last few weeks, playing some of their best minutes of the season. One of those teams that barely escaped with a win is the Grenada Lady Chargers (23-4, 5-1), ranked all season as one of the top teams in the state by the Associated Press, and who is Tupelo's first round opponent Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Back on Jan. 30, the Lady Wave led all of the first half and part of the fourth quarter before finally falling to the Lady Chargers 49-45. Losing was not good, but the way the Lady Wave played against the Lady Chargers gives Pulliam confidence going into Tuesday's game.
"Grenada has a good ball club, but I think we can compete with them playing our game," Pulliam said. "I feel that position for position, we match up with them pretty good."
The other first round girls game Tuesday has the No. 2 seeded Starkville Lady Yellowjackets (17-5, 4-2) facing the No. 3 seeded Columbus Lady Falcons at 4 p.m.
Despite a below average season record of 14-14, the Golden Wave managed to earn the No. 2 seed in the boys tournament. That means that the Wave will play the No. 3 seeded Columbus Falcons at 8:30 Tuesday, a team Tupelo beat twice during the season.
Tupelo, 3-3 in division play, beat the Falcons 55-49 on Dec. 5 and 56-52 at Columbus on Jan. 23. Tupelo held a 14-point lead late in the third quarter during the Jan. 23 contest.
The other first round boys matchup Tuesday will pair the No. 1 seeded Starkville Yellowjackets (18-9, 5-1) against the No. 4 Grenada Chargers (14-10, 2-4) at 5:30 p.m.
The winners of Tuesday's boys and girls games will play Friday at Tupelo, with the girls division championship game starting at 6:30 p.m. and the boys game at 8 p.m. Tuesday's winners will also advance to the Class 5A North Mississippi Tournament, which begins next week.