Carla Harris, special correspondent
The Stonewall boys needed a key 10-0 run in the fourth quarter to finally put Tupelo away in a 63-56 win over the Tigers before a packed Homecoming crowd Friday night inside the Murphy-Roberts Gymnasium.
Coach Wes Moreland’s Stonewall club improved to 4-2 heading into Thanksgiving break, while Tupelo fell to 3-3.
“When we get together, you can pretty much throw our records out. They always play us tough,” Moreland said.
In the girls contest, Stonewall bolted to an 18-3 lead to bury Tupelo early and cruised to a 58-26 victory. The Lady Longhorns notched their second victory of the year to improve to 2-4, while Tupelo left town at .500 with a 3-3 mark.
Two other games on Friday’s local schedule were canceled due to the weather. Asher was supposed to host Allen, and Roff was scheduled to travel to Wanette. No makeup dates for those contests have been announced.
Stonewall 63, Tupelo 56
The Tigers used an 8-0 run in the first quarter — thanks to 3-pointers from Corey McCollum and John Umstead and a basket by Chisum Henry — to surge to an 11-4 lead at the 4:27 mark.
The Longhorns answered with back-to-back baskets by Gage Burns and a pair of Tanner Dees free throws to trim the Tupelo lead to 11-10. The hosts would complete a 10-0 run with a Dakota Morgan bucket that put the Longhorns on top 14-11 heading into the second period.
The game stayed close throughout the second quarter, with Stonewall breaking a 25-25 tie with a 3-pointer from Morgan.That started a 9-2 SHS run that was capped by two Dees free throws that had the host leading 32-27.
With 20 seconds to play, Umsted knocked down another three. On the other end, Dees hit another bucket for a 34-30 Stonewall advantage. Ben Meek was fouled as the halftime buzzer went off and hit one of two free shots. Stonewall led 34-31 at the intermission.
With the game tied at 34-all early in the third quarter, Stonewall used an 8-0 run over the next five minutes to go on top 42-34. Rowdy Rodriguez had four points during the spurt.
The Longhorns used the decisive 10-0 run in the fourth to stretch their lead to 56-41 with four minutes left in the game. Tupelo didn’t score in the final period until a Meek basket with 3:37 left in the game.
The Tigers didn’t get within single digits again until Bry Bratcher’s 3-pointer with 42 seconds left in the game.
“It was a hard-fought game. Every time we got a lead, Tupelo battled back. It was nice to get a win on Homecoming,” Moreland said.
Stonewall was led in scoring by Dees with 16 points, including a 9-of-11 (81%) effort from the free throw line. He also grabbed six boards. Burns and Findley also reached double digits with 11 points apiece. Burns also added 11 rebounds.
John Umstead led all scorers with 17 points for the Tigers. He was 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. Ben Meek also reached double figures with 11 points. McCollum chipped in eight points and pulled down six rebounds before fouling out.
Stonewall 58, Tupelo 26
Stonewall wasted no time building an early lead on Tupelo. Less than a minute into the game, Justice Dees converted a traditional three-point play to put Stonewall on the board. Stonewall’s next basket came off a steal by Shaina Bills that she laid off the glass for a 5-0 lead at the 6:15 mark. Dees hit a free throw with 5:25 on the clock for the 6-0 lead. Freshman Taylor Barrett scored her first bucket of the night at the 4:30 mark to give the Lady Longhorns an 8-0 advantage. With 2:20 to play, Tupelo scored its first points of the game. Hayley Reeves hit a basket and was fouled. She nailed the free throw to cut the lead to 8-3. Stonewall then scored seven more points for a 15-3 lead heading into the second.
Stonewall scored first in the second quarter as well. Bills hit a free throw and another bucket to push the lead to 18-3. Tupelo then went on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 18-10 with 4:40 left on the clock.
Barrett then scored seven points in the last 1:40 of the period to give Stonewall a 30-17 lead at the half. The talented Stonewall youngster had 17 points by intermission and was a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line.
The Lady Longhorns came out on fire in the third quarter, as they pushed the lead to 42-17 with 4:40 on the clock by scoring 12 straight points. Stonewall led 46-19 by the end of the third period.
Stonewall’s biggest lead of the game came at the 6:45 mark after a bucket by Barrett made it 54-19. Both teams substituted freely with over five minutes to go. Stonewall held Tupelo to 7-of-36 (19%) shooting from the field. The Lady Longhorns also outrebounded the Lady Tigers 38-23.
Barrett ended her night with a game-high 27 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field. She hit four of her five 3-point shots and added eight rebounds and seven steals.
Dees recorded a double-double for the hosts with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Bills chipped in seven points and had four steals.
Tupelo was led by Hayley Reeves and Paige Vick with six points apiece.
“It was good to get in the win column. I am seeing improvement, but we are still throwing the ball away too much,” said Stonewall head coach Brian Davis.