Cale Prince Special Correspondent
The Ada News
The Lady Tigers of Tupelo opened up the evening against the Sasakwa Lady Vikings Tuesday night with a tough loss, while the boys followed with a big win over the Vikings.
Sasakwa 49, Tupelo 33
After a slow start, the Lady Tigers found themselves down 12-6 with two minutes left in the first quarter, following a three-point play by Sasakwa sophomore Cynda Factor. Factor finished with 13 points following her teammate Christy Comer, who had 22 on the night.
In the second quarter Tupelo regained composure after giving up five turnovers in the opening eight minutes and rallied to within one late in the period. With less than 30 seconds left on the clock in the first half, the Lady Tigers tallied up back-to-back steals which both led to layups, closing the gap on the Lady Vikings to 19-14 heading into the break.
Early in the third quarter, Tupelo senior Kelsie Warner found sophomore Brittany Sanders with a nice pass for a quick jumper to trim the Sasakwa lead to 19-16.
In the last 1:30 of the third quarter, Lady Viking Comer hit three of four free throws as Sasakwa had pushed its lead back to 30-21. Following those free throws, Tupelo’s Haylee Fowler showed her skill from the line, knocking down two of her own and cutting into the Lady Viking lead (30-23) with 12 seconds remaining in the third.
A rough fourth quarter featured 26 free throws with Sasakwa hitting five of 10 tries and Tupelo sinking nine of 16 attempts. But the Lady Tigers couldn't rally, dropping the 16-point decision.
Kayley Sanders had 16 points in defeat for Tupelo, while Brittany Sanders just missed double digits with nine.
Tupelo 63, Sasakwa 30
In the boys contest, the outcome was a little different.
On their first trip down the floor, the Tupelo Tigers put a quick three points on the board after Tyler Daffern knocked down his only shot from behind the arc of the night. Daffern wasn’t the only one successful from the 3-point line as his teammate John Umsted hit two 3s in the first quarter, one in the second and another in the third, finishing with four treys and 14 points.
Thanks to a successful shooting night, Umsted’s sophomore teammate Chisum Henry finished in the high spot with 16 points. Three of those 16 points came when Henry completed a three-point play after drawing the foul and still knocked down the shot along with the extra free throw. This put the Tupelo Tigers up 27-19 going into the locker room at halftime.
In the beginning of the third period, Umsted came out and hit one of his four 3-pointers on the first possession of the second half. After scoring only six points in the third quarter, Sasakwa made its way back to the free throw line early in the last period as guard Floyd House hit a pair to get his team within 53-29.
The Tiger lead grew from there, as Tupelo limited Sasakwa to five points in the last quarter while scoring 16 of their own.
“We needed a win,” said Tupelo head coach Clay Weller. “I thought we played with a lot of intensity. We’re still getting better. We’re a work in progress, but it’s good to win going into Christmas break.”
Both Tupelo teams return to action on Jan. 3, when they face the Stuart Hornets.