SP Ladies v Tupelo
By Myra Bean
The South Panola Lady Tigers took a stand against Tupelo and came out with their first 2-5A district win in the season, 59-45.
The Lady Golden Wave (10-11 overall, 2-1 district) were bound and determined not to fall, but the relentless attack from the Lady Tigers (13-6 overall, 1-3 district) in the fourth quarter saw to their doom.
“I don’t know if it was emotional because it was Skylar’s (Barnes) last game or because they realize it was time to earn some respect in this division,” Lady Tiger head coach Ralph Stallings said.
“We have been manhandled in our division. Now people realize we can play,” Stallings added.
South Panola scored 46 percent, 27 points, of its total score in the fourth quarter.
It was close going into the fourth quarter with the Lady Tigers clinging to a 32-29 lead. Lady Tiger head coach had rested Sabrina Townsend for almost a quarter from the end of the second quarter to two minutes left in the third.
“Sabrina had three fouls and I did not want her to pick up her fourth and fifth foul when I know I would need her in the fourth quarter,” Stallings said.
Townsend picked up her fourth in the final quarter. She scored 11 of her 14 points in the fourth quarter to lead the attack against the Golden Wave.
The Lady Golden Wave also watched as their coach, Stephanie Murphy, was hit with two technical fouls and ejected from the game with 56.7 seconds left in the game.
Adding to the emotional element of the game, the Lady Tigers said good-bye to Skylar Barnes who moved to Tennessee with her family this week, making this her last game. Barnes scored 11 points in her final game as a Lady Tiger and had to fight off some foul trouble of her own. Going into the fourth quarter, she had three fouls against her.
Barnes opened up the scoring in the first quarter completing a three-point play with a field goal and free throw.
The two teams played extremely physical throughout the game. The game was tied twice in the first quarter at seven and at 12 going into the second half. There were three lead changes in the second quarter.
South Panola broke the tie on an Essie Thomas free throw for the 13-12 lead. Tupelo’s Afton Goree gave the Lady Golden Wave the lead, 14-13, for the first time in the game completing two free throws with 5:14 left in the half. Thomas answered with two free throws for the 15-14 lead at the 4:22 mark. It was Tupelo again with a field goal by Treneisha Trice with 4:03 left for the 16-15 lead.
Tupelo led 18-15 before the Lady Tigers battled back with a field goal by Barnes and free throw by Chasity Kearney to tie the score at 18 going into the half.
The intensity level of the third quarter was kicked up a notch as the teams battled for dominance.
The lead changed hands five times in the third quarter. The Lady Tigers broke the tie and went up by on a Barnes field goal on an assist by Vetorra Cole and a field goal by Kearney.
Tupelo would not go away and battled back to take a 25-24 lead on two free throws with four minutes to go. The teams went back-and-forth and the Lady Tigers retook the lead for good, 28-27, on a Thomas basket with 2:05 left in the third. Townsend reentered the game a few seconds later and the Lady Tigers saw the advantage turn their way. Townsend scored the last four points of the third quarter to give the Lady Tigers a 32-29 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Lady Tigers as they shook off the Golden Wave pressure defense and forced Tupelo to foul.
With nine consecutive points by Townsend, the Lady Tigers took a 10-point lead, 39-29, with 5:54 left in the game.
They refused to give Tupelo a break and continued to pull away.
Other scorers for the Lady Tigers were Stalisha Draper, 12 points, who scored all four of the technical foul points; Cole, 8 points; Thomas, 7 points; Kearney, 6 points; and Monteith Brewer, 2 points.
Amber Jackson led the Lady Golden Wave in scoring with 13 points.
The Tiger teams will host Houston in non-conference action tonight. Tuesday, the Tigers will be home to host Cleveland East Side in non-conference action. Next Friday, they will host Columbus in a district 2-5A matchup. All games tip off at 6 p.m.