By Travis M. Smith | Ellis County Sports Sports
Tuesday’s 6A Region II semifinal was not the barnburner that some outside of Waxahachie expected. Instead, the top-ranked Runnin’ Indians asserted their dominance against Cypress Woods from the opening tip to the final buzzer at Temple High School.
Waxahachie ultimately throttled (22-4) Cypress Woods, 84-51.
The Wildcats entered the game averaging 62.5PPG and had allowed just 48.6. The Runnin’ Indians didn’t let those numbers phase them.
Senior guard CJ Noland put it best when previously speaking with Ellis County Sports Sports — “When we are mentally tough, I don’t feel like anyone can beat us.”
Of course, it also helps that the Runnin’ Indians are equally as tough on the defensive end of the court.
Waxahachie outscored Cy Woods by seven points or more in each of the four quarters Tuesday night in Temple. The Tribe started with a 23-13 first-quarter lead and carried that into a 36-18 halftime advantage.
Noland accounted for 18 of those first-half points, matching the Wildcats’ total. He’d then add four points in the second half to complete his stellar line of 24 points, six rebounds, five assists and two blocks. He was named the Interbank Player of the Game for the effort.
Montez Young then took over in the third quarter. The 6-foot-5 senior forward poured in 13 of his 23 points.
Young then added six more points in the fourth quarter to put the game away and help the Runnin’ Indians outpace the Wildcats, 48-32, in the second half.
V’Zarion Roberson added 10 points for Waxahachie, while Jalen Lake (7), Prince Banks (6), DJ Pigford (3), Matt Green (3), Jordan Davis (2), Preston Hodge (2) and Christian O’Donnell (2) also contributed.
As for Cy Woods, senior Pierce Mathews scored a team-high 11 points, while senior Damian Watson chipped in 10 points to finish as the lone two Wildcats in double-figures.
With the win, the Runnin’ Indians continue the pursuit of their first state championship since 1983 (4A). The victory is also the 16th consecutive for the Tribe, who are now two wins from an appearance in the 6A state championship game.
Waxahachie last appeared in a regional final during the 2017-18 season. The Runnin’ Indians were a member of Class 5A at the time and fell to eventual state-champion Mansfield Timberview in the waning seconds.
Waxahachie has defeated Belton (99-62), Rockwall (74-62), Ellison (78-67) and Cy Woods thus far in the 6A playoffs.
Waxahachie will now turn its sights on 6A No. 2 (25-1) Duncanville.
The Panthers’ lone loss this season came against the Runnin’ Indians in overtime on Jan. 9 (88-85). Young hit the game-winning three-pointer in the final seconds.
Duncanville defeated (20-5) Cypress Park. 70-42, to reach the 6A Region II championship.
Time, location, ticket information or streaming options have yet to be set.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith