TUPELO — The Corinth Warriors won’t be headed to the Division 1-4A Tournament on a losing streak after bucking the trend.
Idle since having a 20-game winning streak ended last Thursday by Shannon, the Warriors knocked off Class 6A Tupelo 63-61 Friday in the regular-season finale for both clubs.
It was just the Warriors third win over their former Big 8 and Little 10 Conference rivals in 14 meetings under current Head Coach Keith Greene. The down-to-the-wire win was also CHS’ first at Tupelo in at least 11 years.
The other two wins in that span came at Corinth in the 2012-13 season and in a neutral-court affair at Baldwyn in 2013-14.
Tupelo (23-4) trailed by as many as 12 in the third quarter, but forged a 61-61 tie on Tyjil Hereford’s 3-pointer with 30 seconds remaining. Corinth milked the clock for a final shot, and got the game-winner on Antares Gwyn’s inside bucket with 3.3 seconds remaining.
Gwyn — who recorded his third 20-point, 20-rebound game of the season and second in a row — missed the ensuing free throw, but Tupelo lost the ball out of bounds before getting off a potential game-winner.
After blowing a 12-point advantage and falling in overtime the last time out, Corinth led 41-29 with 2:41 remaining in the third. The Wave closed on a 10-0 run to get to within 41-39 after three quarters.
Tupelo continued to come away with Corinth turnovers in the fourth and opened with five straight. A 15-0 spurt over four minutes of game time, gave THS its first lead — at 44-41 — since early in the second quarter.
The teams traded out buckets, before e Tada Stricken’s 3-pointer knotted the game at 46-46 with just under six minutes remaining. Gwyn, who scored 19 of his game-high 25 in the second half, converted a free throw to put Corinth up 47-46 with just over five minutes left.
Corinth never trailed again although Tupelo would knot the game at 51-51 and 61-all.
Gwyn, who went past the 1,500-point mark and into 10th all-time in scoring at CHS, scored 11 in the fourth, giving CHS a four-point lead with 2:30 remaining. Tupelo pulled to within one, before Stricken turned a Gwyn pass into an assist with 1:35 left.
Corinth answered again when the Wave made it a 59-58 game late. Javen Morrison’s driving hoop with 40 seconds left made it 61-58 before Tupelo tied the game one final time.
Gwyn was the lone Warrior in double figures. Armad Wicks followed with nine of the bench, including half of Corinth’s four 3-pointers.
Corinth has a bye in the 1-4A Tournament and will play the winner between Itawamba AHS and Tishomingo County in Thursday’s semifinal round. The Warriors are also guaranteed a spot in one of the two must-win games to earn a berth in the State Tournament.
• In the opener, Tupelo opened up a one-point halftime lead by outscoring Corinth 18-10 in the third and held on for a 68-62 win.
Corinth (12-10) trailed by as many as seven in the opening half, but fought back to lea 21-19 and 23-22 in the second quarter. Tupelo (20-7) reclaimed the lead at took a 31-30 advantage into the break.
Andrea Adams led Corinth with 26, tying Tupelo’s Jalancia Kohlheim for game honors.
The Lady Warriors open the 1-4A Tournament against Tishomingo County on Tuesday. A win extends the season with a semifinal bout against Itawamba AHS on Thursday.