By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
On a rather somber night and behind 22 points by BJ Francis, the Waxahachie Runnin’ Indians locked into District 7-6A postseason spot.
Francis scored nine of his 22 points in the second quarter to propel the Runnin’ Indians to a comfortable 82-56 victory on the Tigers’ home court.
Waxahachie (25-6, 7-3 in 7-6A) clinched its fourth consecutive postseason under head coach Greg Gober, who has yet to miss the playoffs since taking the reins of his alma mater ahead of the 2016-17 season.
“We played very, very unselfish,” Gober said of his team’s performance on Friday. “We just had some guys do a really good job. They (Mansfield) turned up their defense a little bit.”
Behind Francis’ offensive outburst, the Runnin’ Indians built a seven-point lead in the first quarter that expanded to 10 points, 36-26, by the half. They then outscored the Tigers 46-32 over the final two frames.
Jalen Lake scored nine of the Runnin’ Indians’ 17 first-quarter points and ended the game with 21 points.
AJ Russ tallied eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter, while CJ Noland and Sammy Kaoud each added nine points. Chris Pace tallied three points. Dmarion Callier, AB Shorter, Preston Hodge and Christian O’Donnell scored two points.
Those in attendance Friday wore green and black in honor of the late Daniel Maberry, who served as the head coach of the Mansfield Tiger football team until his passing earlier this week. Mayberry, 47, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lymphoma in 2018. He passed away Tuesday.
WHAT IT MEANS
At this point in the season, the Runnin’ Indians sit tied with No. 12 South Grand Prairie for second place in District 7-6A with a 7-3 record and well behind No. 10 (23-1, 10-0) Grand Prairie. Waxahachie and SGP are both one game clear of fourth-place DeSoto, while all four have locked into a postseason spot.
Realistically, the Runnin’ Indians could finish as high as second in the 7-6A standings, which would lead to a bi-district matchup against unranked and undertalented Lake Highlands from 8-6A.
If Waxahachie was to finish third in the district standings, they’d likely face No. 11 Richardson. A fourth-place finish would pit the Runnin’ Indians against top-ranked Duncanville.
When asked what the Tribe needs to focus its efforts on ahead of the 6A postseason, Noland emphatically said, “defense and defensive rebounds.”
“I feel like, when we get a rebound, our transition game is stronger and we play much better when we get rebounds and push the ball.
Waxahachie returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at home against district-leading Grand Prairie. The Runnin’ Indians fell to the Gophers, 62-60, on Jan. 17.
With three regular-season games to play, Gober noted the Runnin’ Indians need to focus on “sticking together and not letting adversity destroy us.”
All photos by Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports
Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports contributed to this report.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith