In 1997 and 1998, the Utah Jazz lost to the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals. The games were all fierce, but at the end of the day, nobody could stop Michael Jordan.
The Waxahachie Lady Indians feel kind of like the Utah Jazz as they have lost to Mansfield Summit every time they’ve faced them in these two years in the same district.
When the two teams have met, Summit has always been in the state’s top-20 and heavily favored, but three of the four games they have played have been decided by seven points or less and have been tied at some point in the fourth quarter.
That trend continued as Waxahachie lost to the Lady Jaguars 47-40 at home Tuesday night.
“I don’t know what it is about them. They’ve lost just one game this year,” Waxahachie coach Lesli Priebe said. “They go out and blow everyone else out by 20 or more, but we play really well against them. Just not well enough.”
Summit’s shortest starter is about as tall as Waxahachie’s tallest player so the Lady Jaguars definitely have a size advantage and have a deeper team than the Lady Indians. But that hasn’t kept the Lady Indians from scrapping their way to stay in these games.
“They are a really good team obviously,” Priebe said. “It’s just such a tough district. We were hoping we could get this one tonight and try and get on a roll for the last four games.”
The Lady Indians were almost able to pull off the upset once again as they battled back from down 10 in the third quarter. Paris Townsend scored five of her eight points in the final minute of the third quarter to make it a three-point game going into the final quarter.
Waxahachie battled back to tie the game at 38 with three minutes left. Summit attempted a three-pointer and it missed, but the Lady Indians were called for a foul that sent the Lady Jaguars to the line with the chance to break the tie.
She hit the first two shots, but missed the third to give Waxahachie a chance. Unfortunately, the Lady Jaguars used their height advantage to snag the offensive board and make a short jumper to go up 42-38.
The shots stopped falling for the Lady Indians and their final two points came at the free throw line from Dawn King. Summit was able to hit its free throws down the stretch and seal the victory.
This game was slow to get going as a foul was called just about everytime a player entered the paint in the first half. That put several players on both teams in foul trouble and adjusted the game drastically.
“When a team is applying hard pressure and hand checking and they aren’t calling fouls, it’s hard to get your offense going,” Priebe said. “They called a lot early, but then it was a complete turnaround. We’re not blaming anything on the refs because we did this to ourselves.”
The team didn’t get much of a break either from the rim as the Lady Indians struggled to shoot from the field. All five of the team’s second quarter points came at the free throw line.
“Our shots were not falling,” Priebe said. “If the shots were falling, I think it would have been differently.”
The team’s top three scorers were a combined eight for 30 from the field. This season has been full of “ifs and buts” as the Lady Indians have lost six district games by seven points or less.
The loss puts Waxahachie (8-14, 2-8 in 15-4A) on its last gasp for a playoff berth. The Lady Indians will visit Lancaster at 6:30 p.m. Friday. A loss in that game would officially eliminate Waxahachie from playoff contention.
The Lady Indians will need to win out and get Lancaster, Mansfield Lake Ridge and Mansfield Legacy to all lose one more game other than to Waxahachie to make the playoffs.