By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
It wasn’t too many seasons ago that a scheduled basketball game between Waxahachie and Justin Northwest would have many Runnin’ Indians fans penciling in a loss.
That was, however, before the return of head coach Greg Gober and his defense-first approach to the game. Year four of Gober’s Waxahachie tenure began with a 94-52 rout of Northwest on Saturday in the Fort Worth Cowtown Classic.
Both teams began the season state-ranked in their respective 6A and 5A polls.
Sixth-ranked Waxahachie never trailed in the contest, leading 24-12 after the first full quarter and 48-20 at the half. The Tribe then outscored the Texas 46-32 in the second half.
Senior guard BJ Francis led all scorers with 27 points in 19 minutes. He connected on 6-of-9 from behind the arc, finished 10-of-15 from the floor and pulled down five total rebounds.
CJ Noland tallied 12 points and added six boards, four assists, two blocks and two steals to his stat line, while AJ Russ scored 11 points and dished out a team-high five assists.
Dmarion Callier, KB Jackson and Chris Pace each poured in eight points for the Runnin’ Indians, while Jalen Lake (6 points), Christian O’Donell (5), Sammy Kaoud (4), AB Shorter (3) and Jordan Davis (2) all contributed offensively too.
Callier led the team with seven total rebounds, four of which came off of the offensive glass.
The Runnin’ Indians shot 44.7% from the field (34-76) and 41% from three-point land (16-39).
INSIDE THE TOP-10
The Runnin’ Indians entered the season as the seventh-ranked team in the TexasHoops.com (Rivals) 6A top-25 and 19th in the TABC preseason poll, while Justin Northwest tipped off as the 12th and 9th ranked team in the TexasHoops.com and TABC 5A polls, respectively.
Following the victory, the Runnin’ Indians jumped 13 spots at No. 6 in the official TABC poll. Northwest fell two spots to No. 11.
The Runnin’ Indians make their home debut at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday against Waco High. They will then face iSchool out of Lewisville at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Mike Turner Gymnasium in Waxahachie.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith