By Travis M. Smith | Ellis County Sports Sports
Classifications do not matter much when in-county rivals take to the basketball court for a non-district game. And that is precisely how Friday’s tilt between the Class 6A Waxahachie Lady Indians and 5A Red Oak Lady Hawks played out.
Red Oak, which entered as the No. 11 team in the TABC 5A girls’ statewide poll, used a big first half and closed with a 17-10 run in the fourth quarter for the 54-48 road victory.
The Lady Hawks led 28-21 at the half inside Mike Turner Gymnasium, only to see the Lady Indians take a 38-37 lead into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was then a display of guts for the Lady Hawks, as Red Oak is battle-tested and their window to make a postseason run is now under third-year head coach Darren Eubanks.
Waxahachie, on the other hand, is still in transition, and that is perfectly OK. The Lady Indians continue to prove they are talented and have bought into first-year head coach Ashlaa Zuniga’s program. It’s only a matter of time before their talent and her style click.
Red Oak junior forward Aniyah Johnson led all scorers with 27 points and added a game-high eight rebounds.
Micah Cooper added nine points and three boards for the Lady Hawks, while Breanna Davis (7pts, 5reb), Aziya Wilson (4pts), Amyia Bowie (3pts), Makinzie Taplin (2pts) and De’odrianna Medlock (2pts) also contributed to the win.
As for Waxahachie, three Lady Indians reached double-figures in the scoring column, led by the 12 points, five rebounds and two assists provided by junior Mya Williams.
Rayna Ross added 12 points and five rebounds and Halley Becerra poured in 10 points.
Chadarion Miles scored six points, while Taz Valencia and Kyla McBride both scored two. Brionna Parker added one point and four rebounds for the Lady Indians.
Red Oak improved to 12-4 on the season with the win, while Waxahachie fell to 7-9.
Ross, a senior forward, and Williams, a junior guard, both provided thoughts on what the Lady Indians need to improve upon ahead of a grueling District 7-6A slate when talking to Ellis County Sports Sports earlier in the week.
“We need to focus on staying calm under pressure and talking out for rebounds and being smart on the floor,” Ross said.
Williams added, “We need to focus on everyone gaining more confidence and everyone being able to fight through adversity during the game.”
First-year head coach Ashlaa Zuniga echoed both of her girls’ sentiments, explaining the Lady Indians need to focus on executing on offense. That mindset is being emphasized by a mantra of “DTLT” — “Do the little things,” such as blocking out and taking an open shot when it’s presented.
“We keep talking about those things in practice and, if we start doing that, it really will turn the tide for us and we will start winning some games that are winnable,” Zuniga said. “[…] We have had some change. Some people who were on varsity are no longer on varsity. I think the continuity and how well they are getting along has surprised me. Our ability to try and run things together has helped us, but I also think the kids just get along well.”
All photos by Kirk Holt/Ellis County Sports Sports
Fred Phipps/Ellis County Sports Sports contributed to this report
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith