Chargers edge Wave for second straight title

Grenada High School senior Joniah White (5) pulls down a rebound during action Friday night at Tupelo. The Chargers won a 67-62 decision over the Golden Wave to claim the Region 2-6A Tournament title. GHS, 20-10, hosts DeSoto Central, 23-7, in the opening round of the Class 6A North State Tournament tonight at 7 p.m. Staff Photo/Chuck Hathcock

Sports Editor

   TUPELO – Grenada High School’s Jaworski Rankin knew that beating Tupelo on their home floor would be a challenge.
   Earlier this season, the Chargers dropped a 67-63 to the Golden Wave.
   This past Friday, the teams were meeting for the Region 2-6A Tournament championship. They were also playing for the chance to host the opening round of the North 6A Tournament tonight.
   The first half went back and forth with five ties and no team led by more than four points. Grenada led 15-13 at the end of the opening period and 29-26 at halftime.
   Grenada built a 16-point lead late in the third period only to see Tupelo rally to tie the game with under three minutes left.
   In the end, the Chargers made 9-10 free throws down the stretch and escaped with a 62-57 win. The victory gave the Chargers their second straight region tournament title.
   With the win, GHS improves to 20-10 overall. Tupelo falls to 19-10. The Chargers host DeSoto Central tonight at 7 p.m. Tupelo travels to Horn Lake.
   “It’s a big win for our guys and the community,” Coach Jaworski Rankin said. “We battled foul trouble and made enough plays in the end to get the win.”
   Grenada opened the third period with a 16-3 run after leading 29-26 at halftime. The Chargers biggest lead came at the 2:58 mark of the third period. That’s when Tupelo made its run.
   The Golden Wave scored 12 of the final 17 points in the period to cut the margin to 50-39 at the end of the third quarter. Missed free throws, turnovers, and foul trouble allowed Tupelo to get back into the game.
   “We had some chances to score during that span, but made some mistakes,” Rankin said. “You always thought they would make a run at us. We helped them some along with the foul trouble.”
   Tupelo’s Tre Long scored to start the final period cutting the GHS lead to 50-41. After LaCurtis Allen hit a free throw, Antonio Green scored to make it 51-43 with 7:11 left in the game.
   The Chargers had a pair of turnovers and a missed shot on their next three possessions. Tupelo scored 12 of the next 14 points to tie the game at 55-55 with 2:17 left. GHS had a missed layup, missed dunk, and two turnovers during the run.
   Tyrin Jones gave Grenada the lead for good with a bucket at 2:09 left. Four free throws from Tyler Dorris and a free throw from Joniah White made it 62-55 with 51 seconds left.
   The Golden Wave got within three points on two different occasions, but no closer.
   White led Grenada with 16 points and Dorris added 14 points. Allen and Jones both had 11 points. Trey Spencer chipped in seven and Tyrus Black scored six. Jay Dorsey finished with two points.
   Grenada faces a DeSoto Central team that lost in the Region 1 finals to Horn Lake. The winner of the game advances to face the winner of the Starkville-Greenville-Weston game. If Starkville wins, the game will be at Starkville. If not, it could end up at Horn Lake or Tupelo, depending on first round winners Tuesday.
   The top two teams advance to the Class 6A State Tournament at the Mississippi Coliseum.

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