It’s been a tough year for the Waxahachie Lady Indians, but as the saying goes, misery loves its company.
The Lady Indians aren’t playoff bound, but they had the pleasure of putting Mansfield Legacy on the brink of elimination with a big 55-53 win at home Tuesday night.
“It really was a great all-around team effort,” Waxahachie coach Lesli Priebe said. “I thought the bench came in and did a really nice job because we got into foul trouble early.”
Most of the team’s foul trouble this year has come at the free throw line, but the Lady Indians hit 23 of 33 from the charity stripe on Tuesday. In the first half of the season, the team missed more than half of its free throws in just about every game. If it had shot like that all year, the team may be trying to secure a playoff spot instead of playing spoiler.
“The first time we played Legacy, we went one for 12 at the line,” Priebe said. “Against Red Oak and Lancaster we weren’t hitting anything, but they came up big tonight.”
The entire team came up big, especially after Priebe made a defensive adjustment in the fourth quarter. With Waxahachie down eight entering the final quarter, the coach got great play out of senior Paris Townsend and her freshman “mini-me” Aarion Copeland.
“You talk about changing the game. She changed the game,” Priebe said of Copeland “We switched up the defense a little bit and I’m so proud of them for pulling it out.”
Copeland had seven steals, four in the fourth, that led to easy transition buckets and free throws. Townsend scored the first eight of her 18 points in the fourth quarter to give the Lady Indians the lead early in the frame. Unfortunately she wasn’t able to finish the game after getting poked in the eye.
“She scratched me a little bit and it still hurts,” Townsend said. “We’re gonna get it checked out because I couldn’t see out of my eye for a while after the game.”
While she was down, she was able to use her good eye to see Copeland’s impact on the game.
“She’s great. We’ve played a lot together, not just this year,” Townsend said. “She played up in age to play against us growing up and we were in the same league.”
The senior definitely sees a lot of her style in the freshman’s game.
“She’s going to be really good. She plays good defense and she can shoot,” Townsend said. “Even when we were younger playing together, she did a good job of hanging with us.”
Townsend is known for her defense, but she still led the team with 18 points on the game despite missing the end of the contest.
With her down, the team needed fellow senior Dawn King to step up. She hit nine of 10 free throws to help seal the win. She also had 15 points and nine rebounds. Her last rebound was key.
Waxahachie was up by four with 19 seconds left when Legacy ran down the court for an easy lay up. Its coach then ran almost to the basket to get a time out called.
Destinee Pointer, who had seven assists on the game, went to the line with a chance to ice the game, but both of her free shots missed. The rebound would have given Legacy a chance to tie the game in the final few seconds, but King coralled the loose ball and was fouled immediately.
She hit her two free throws to put Waxahachie back up four with 11 seconds left. Legacy got a bucket and forced a turnover with four seconds left. The Lady Broncos couldn’t get a shot off in the final seconds and the Lady Indians were able to hang on to get the win.
The team got the victory in front of a big crowd because it was junior high night (all the junior high players were introduced at halftime) and senior night. The Lady Indians’ three seniors were introduced before the game.
King, Townsend and G’Juana Alexander were the team’s lone seniors this year. While they still have two more games left for Waxahachie, they were honored before the game.
“It meant a little more to get the win tonight,” Townsend said. “I think everyone played a little harder for us.”
Waxahachie (9-15, 3-9 in 15-4A) will play its final home game of the year at 6:30 p.m. Friday against Arlington Seguin (21-8, 11-1 in 15-4A).
Seguin, Mansfield Summit (11-1) and Red Oak (9-3) have all locked up playoff spots this year. The final spot will probably be decided Friday when Lancaster (5-7) and Mansfield Lake Ridge (5-7) face off.