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Tupelo tops Germantown in state title rematch

Jan. 11—TUPELO — For the past several years, Germantown has proven to be an obstacle the Tupelo Lady Wave couldn't quite get over.

The teams had faced each other five times in the last three seasons, including each of the last three state tournaments. Germantown won each of those meetings, including the most recent one; the Class 6A state championship in March.

However, on Thursday night, the No. 6 Golden Wave finally broke through, beating the Mavericks 56-42.

"They just really wanted to come out tonight and kind of prove themselves," Tupelo coach Matt Justice said of his team. "And we've been trying to get to the point where they are where they've been winning championships."

Though Tupelo led by six at halftime, Germantown built momentum going into the break. The Golden Wave then used an 11-5 run to go up 38-26 with three minutes, six seconds to go in the third quarter.

Jade Rucker scored eight of Tupelo's 17 points in the period, after which the team held a 44-29 lead.

"This is a big win for us knowing that we've lost to Germantown the past five times before so this win to us means a lot," she said. "They put us out in the championship last year, so we just had to come back and just give our all with this team."

Stopping Germantown's momentum took settling down and adjusting to new looks.

"There's some things that teams are gonna throw at you that you hadn't seen," Justice said. "It was good for us to see it and make the adjustment to it and I thought we did."

The defense was airtight for Tupelo to start the game. The Golden Wave allowed one field goal in the first eight minutes; a layup by Alana Rouser four minutes in

Offensively, Rucker scored the team's first 10 points and Tupelo finished the first quarter with a 15-2 lead.

"We just played with a lot of energy," Justice said of Tupelo's defense. "I thought we were all over the palace tonight."

The Golden Wave returns to action on Tuesday when it travels to face No. 3 Starkville.

(B) Germantown 43, Tupelo 34: The Golden Wave fell for the second time in three games on Thursday night.

Demetrius Duffy led Tupelo with 11 points. Jamarion Jones was second with eight.

Three-Pointers

Turning Point: Germantown went on a 16-4 run late in the second quarter to make it 27-21 at halftime.

Point Maker: Rucker led the Golden Wave with 20 points.

Talking Point: "I'm just proud of the girls for coming out and playing a really intense game, a lot of effort, a lot of energy and we worked really well as a team tonight, so I was just proud of them." —Tupelo coach Matt Justice.

james.murphy@djournal.com