By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
Friday night at Mike Turner Gymnasium was supposed to be a barnburner between state-ranked No. 4 Waxahachie and No. 13 DeSoto.
At least, that was the case on paper and between pundits. The Runnin’ Indians instead took the Eagles outback of that barn and taught them a lesson or two in a 17-point District 7-6A opening victory, 75-58.
Waxahachie senior point guard BJ Francis stole the spotlight early and often with a 30-point performance that included five three-pointers.
Francis scored 13 of those points in the second quarter and 10 more in the final frame to put the game on ice.
Junior guards CJ Noland and Jalen Lake also had fine nights for the Runnin’ Indians and in support of Francis, scoring 18 and 10 points, respectively.
The game was really never in doubt, either.
Waxahachie led 16-11 after the first quarter and then carried a 41-28 advantage into halftime.
The Runnin’ Indians ultimately maintained that 13-point lead into the final three minutes of the third quarter.
Two turnovers later, Noland cleaned up a Lake miss and scored his 15th and 16th point of the game to push the Waxahachie lead to 49-34 with 2:15 in the third quarter.
Noland then got a little revenge on former Waxahachie teammate and current DeSoto point guard, Mekai Pope, with a big-time block in the lane a little later to keep the Waxahachie lead at 15. Pope finished the game with nine points, third on the team for the Eagles.
Each team added a bucket in the final minute to send Waxahachie into the fourth quarter with a somewhat comfortable 15-point lead, 51-36. Waxahachie had outscored DeSoto 10-8 in the frame.
BJ Francis promptly drilled a three-pointer — his fourth of the game — to open the fourth quarter and put Waxahachie up, 54-36. The bucket, which came, on the Runnin’ Indians’ first possession of the quarter, ran his game total to 23 points.
The lead then grew to 20 points when AJ Russ scored on a second-chance opportunity. Russ finished the game with seven points.
The Waxahachie lead had shrunk slightly — back down to 15 points — as the game turned toward the final five minutes.
Francis once again answered the call and swung momentum squarely back in the Runnin’ Indians’ favor one final time when he tickled the twine for his fifth three-pointer of the night.
The triple gave Waxahachie a 59-41 lead, which held into DeSoto timeout with 3:41 to play in the fourth quarter. Waxahachie eventually cruised into its 75-58 victory.
In addition to Francis, Noland, Lake and Russ, AB Shorter scored six points for the Runnin’ Indians, while Christian O’Donnell and Chris Pace each added two.
J’Kobe Williams led DeSoto with 17 points and Duncan Powell tallied 14.
The win improved No. 4 Waxahachie to 18-3 on the season and 1-0 in 7-6A, while No. 13 DeSoto fell to 10-7 overall and 0-1 in district play.
Waxahachie returns to action against Cedar Hill at 7:30 p.m Tuesday on the Longhorns’ home court. DeSoto will look to bounce back at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at home against Grand Prairie.
All photos by Kirk Holt/KBEC Sports
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith