By Angie Ledbetter
After coming off a huge 53-49 district win on the road at Columbus last Friday, the South Panola Tigers (10-6 overall, 1-3 district) walked off their home court Tuesday night after losing a tough battle to Tupelo (13-9, 3-2) 56-46.
The Tigers walked on the court with confidence after getting slammed by Tupelo 69-38 two weeks ago.
The game had six different lead changes and was tied three times. However, the most important tie was at the end of the third quarter at 38.
Tupelo went on a 6-2 run taking a 46-40 lead over South Panola with 5:40 left in the game. The Tigers rallied to add four points to get within two 46-44 with 4:40 on the clock.
After that Tupelo employed its pressure defense on the Tigers to go on an 8-2 run.
Both teams scored 11 points in the first. The Tigers outscored Tupelo 17 – 15 giving the Tigers a 28-26 lead at the half. Tupelo turned the tables and out scored South Panola 12-10 in the third to tie the game at 38.
Tupelo went on a run to out score South Panola 18-8 to claim the district contest.
Kendell Turner and Ox Poole were the game’s leading scorers with 10 points each for the Tigers. Other scorers include DeAndrea Harris, six; Josh Madison, five; Myron Powell, four; scoring two points each were Eric Booker, R.J. Scott, Jordan Matthews, Kamdon Edwards and Laundricus Salter.
The Tigers shot 100 percent from the free throw line while Tupelo shot 79.
Leading the Golden Wave in scoring was Alex Foster with nine points followed by Sean Watkins with eight.
Coach Charlie Howard said the Tigers have been playing a whole lot better in division play and that’s not normal for them.
“It’s been a crazy division. Starting with Columbus who came here and beat us by nine points and we went to Columbus beating them by four points.”
“I felt like we really had a chance tonight with Tupelo but the ball handling got us at the end. They fought all the way through it until the end. Tupelo figured we couldn’t handle it so they just turned the pressure up on us.”
Howard said, “My speech to them was ball handling and taking care of the basketball. We didn’t do that down the stretch.”
According to Howard he has different guys at different times to lead the team.
“I’ve got about five or six guys that have been contributing most of the season pretty steady. Madison had 17 points in the Columbus game leading the team.”
Grenada currently leads the division with a 2-1 record. Tupelo is 3-2, Columbus 3-3 and South Panola 1-3.
The Tigers will travel to Grenada to start that division series tonight at 5 p.m.