The Waxahachie boys basketball team ended the regular season of their spring league with a tough loss Tuesday night.
The Runnin’ Indians were tied with Red Oak Life at the half, but a 15-3 run in the first dozen minutes of the second half paved the way for Life’s 48-39 victory.
While the final result isn’t what the young team is striving for, there were several bright spots, especially in the first half.
For the team to be successful this year, post players Lee Wheaton and Londyn Slaughter are going to need to play well together on the court at the same time. They did just that, especially during a four-possession stretch late in the half.
With Red Oak Life leading 21-15, Slaughter snagged a board and started the offense moving up the court. Once on the offensive end, Wheaton got the ball and swished a short runner to start his hot stretch.
The next three possessions were just about carbon copies of that first one, except Wheaton put on a different amount of flair for each shot. First he dribbled one behind his back as he juked around a defender and made an easy lay up. Next time he ran under the rim and flipped a shot over his shoulder that sunk. Finally, he grabbed an offensive rebound after a miss and went right back up for an easy lay up.
“I’ve just been working a lot on my ball handling and my shot,” Wheaton said. “Something the new coach has been working with us a lot is on offense. We’ve got to be able to score more this year.”
While Wheaton’s offense stole the show as he scored eight straight points to give Waxahachie it’s first lead of the game at 23-21, Slaughter was dominating on defense as he either blocked or altered shots. He finished with 11 rebounds and two blocks to go with eight points . Wheaton finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, four of which were offensive.
“We know for us to be good, the two of us have to be good,” Wheaton said. “We’ve been working on communicating and our spacing down low.”
Slaughter was probably the most vocal player on the court for the Indians as he was often encouraging players to move around the court to help get open shots. Slaughter joined the Indians for district play and his 6-foot-5, 200-pound frame was a welcomed addition.
With him on one side and Wheaton’s 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame on the other side of the paint, the Indians can be a force on the boards this season.
Waxahachie also will get a boost from the return of Andre Mills. He didn’t finish last season on the team, but is back and ready to contribute this year. He drilled a three-pointer and had a couple of rebounds to help the team Tuesday.
Trevone Smith will be a difference-maker as he enters his sophomore year. He seemed to control the tempo of the game a little better Tuesday and still showed no fear as he crashed the paint several times. Smith finished with nine points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals.
The Indians will now play a playoff game for their summer league tonight at 6 p.m. at Solis Gymnasium at the Waxahachie Ninth Grade Center. This will be the last game until the fall.