DUNCANVILLE – Apparently a lot can change in a day.

The Waxahachie Lady Indians played a much cleaner game Friday morning than they did Thursday and got a big, 66-64 overtime win against Fort Worth Dunbar in the second game of the 62nd Sandra Meadows Classic.

Waxahachie committed 29 turnovers versus the No. 4 5A team in the state Thursday and rebounded to commit just 11 Friday and that helped pave the way to the big victory.

It could have been a repeat performance of the day before as Dunbar began the game with a full-court press almost as strong as Plano West’s. But the Lady Indians did a great job of beating the press and getting the ball up the court.

“I told them that the only way you can get a team to quit pressing is to beat it,” Waxahachie coach Lesli Priebe said. “If they know they can rattle you with it then they are going to just keep doing it. We did a great job of handling it in the first few minutes and I don’t think we turned it over once.”

Senior point guard Ja’Mayia Perez was the leader the team needed Friday morning as her presence of mind and excellent passing helped her team beat the pressure. Perez scored eight of her team-high 24 points in that opening frame.

“She did a much better job today than yesterday. Against West, she had a ball taken from her and she just turned and ran from it,” Priebe said. “Today, she was in on every loose ball and was all over the court doing everything we needed. She’s the senior. She’s the one that’s got to step up.”

Perez also had 12 rebounds, two steals, three assists and a block. 

After Dunbar found out that it wasn’t going to be easy to rattle the Lady Indians, the Lady Wildcats were forced to play a normal defense. That led to a very tight game, Dunbar never led by more than six and Waxahachie by more than four, which had 10 ties and five lead changes throughout the final three quarters of regulation. It was the final tie, a shot by Perez that forced the overtime period.

Keshona Hawkins swished a pair of free throws with a minute and a half left in regulation to give Waxahachie a 51-49 lead, their first since they were up 26-25 in the second quarter. 

That didn’t last long as Dunbar came roaring back to take a 53-51 lead and with 24 seconds left the Lady Wildcats’ top player, Taylor Dorsey, made a shot that appeared to be a backbreaker, but a heated mistake cost Dunbar. After Dorsey made a short jumper, she appeared to shove a Waxahachie player and got called for a technical. That meant that Waxahachie got two free throws and the ball for a chance to tie.

Hawkins, the team’s top free throw shooter by percentage, stepped to the line trying to swish two more and make it a one possession game.

“I just knew we had to have them,” Hawkins said. “I had just made two a  minute earlier and I was feeling pretty confident that I would make those. So I just did.”

Priebe went with her gut there to go with Hawkins instead of her top two scorers Perez or Dawn King. The bet paid off as Hawkins barely even touched the net with two perfect shots.

“Well she had just made two and the others had missed a couple earlier in the game,” Priebe said. “I knew we needed those two points and I thought Hawkins would deliver.”

That gut move shows why Priebe is revered as one of the top coaches in the state. 

Those two points made it a two-point game with less than half a minute to go in the game. But since it was a technical foul, Waxahachie got to keep the ball and Perez made a short jumper to tie the game at 55 with just nine seconds to go. Dunbar made buzzer beaters in the first and second quarters, but thankfully wasn’t able to get a third one as the game was sent to overtime.

In the overtime period, it was a battle between Perez and Dorsey. Each scored all but two of their team’s points in the extra period, but Perez outscored Dorsey seven to five. Dorsey finished with 35 points in the game, but it just wasn’t enough.

King took a charge then actually nailed the game-winning basket to give Waxahachie the lead for good with a minute to go in overtime.

King finished with 15 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

One of the many keys in this game was the 26 offensive rebounds that Waxahachie snagged.

“We did a great job on the offensive boards. Last night we had just seven,” Priebe said. “We told them to make them box us out. If they do, that’s fine, just make them try. But we did a great job of standing our ground.” 

Paris Townsend continued her stellar defensive campaign by wrangling 15 rebounds, a career-high.

“I didn’t know I had that many. I just wanted to get the ball for us because this was a game we wanted,” Townsend said. “It was great playing a team that didn’t have five players a foot taller than us like we play in district.”

Townsend also had 10 points, the same as Hawkins.

This is annually one of the toughest tournaments in the state and just getting a win against any team in the field is something to hang your hat on.

“I think we’re feeling pretty good about ourselves now,” Townsend said. “We are pretty confident. I know we have two more games here then we get back to district and I think we can definitely win a lot more games.”

The team finished the tournament play Saturday afternoon. To see how the team fared, visit www.waxahachietx.com.

The Lady Indians (13-8, 2-2 in 15-4A) will return home at 6:30 p.m. Friday to take on Mansfield Legacy (5-11, 1-3).

Indians lose in tournament

The Runnin’ Indians had a tough road in the first round of the Byron Nelson Winter Classic as they had to face San Antonio Alamo Heights, the state’s No. 5 4A team.

Waxahachie hung tight for most of the game and trailed by just six in the fourth quarter, but lost 52-40.

Lee Wheaton led the team with 16 points and Antoine Taylor added 11. Freshman point guard Trevone Smith scored eight points in his second varsity game.

The team finished the tournament play Saturday afternoon. To see how the team fared, visit www.waxahachietx.com.

The Indians (1-16, 0-2 in 15-4A) will return home at 8 p.m. Friday to continue district play versus Mansfield Legacy (13-6, 1-1).