The Tigers scored 19 third-quarter points to grab a 36-34 lead on a jumper by John Umsted with just over two minutes left in the period. But Hall answered again with back-to-back buckets inside to give the Wolves a 38-36 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
The Tupelo offense went cold again, missing another 10 shots in a row (their final attempt of the third quarter and first nine of the fourth). That allowed Vanoss to score the first nine points of the fourth frame to build a 47-36 advantage. Tupelo would make just 18-of-63 field goals in the contest.
Hurt, who went 11 deep in the game, said a lineup change to start the fourth quarter finally helped his team get some breathing room.
“I went back with a group of guys that had been playing well all night,” he said. “We’re going to have to have more of a contribution from our bench. They’re good enough to contribute, and they’re going to have to start playing better.”
The Wolves’ dominance in the paint proved to be the difference. Starting center Dayton Phillips and Hall, in a reserve role, combined for 27 points on 11-of-20 shooting. Phillips scored 15 points to go with seven rebounds, while Hall added 12. Vanoss also sank 5-of-12 3-point attempts, including a pair by Jake Grimm.
“My bigs finally played like they’re supposed to play every night. Hopefully that will continue,” Hurt said.
Umsted led Tupelo with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Corey McCollum followed with nine points and 10 boards.
Up next for Vanoss is a home date with defending Class 2A state champion Latta next Tuesday.
“Latta is a well-coached team with good players. We’re going to have to play a really solid game. But we’ll compete. It will be a fun game,” Hurt said.