A few seconds late in a basketball game can feel like an eternity.
Much was the case Tuesday night at George W. Solis Gymnasium in a District 10-5A loss for the Waxahachie Lady Indians against Mansfield Summit.
The Lady Indians took a one-point lead on a Mya Williams and-one with 18.3 seconds to play, only to fall short against the Lady Jaguars 51-49.
The loss dropped Waxahachie to 12-5 on the season and 2-1 in district play. The defeat also came in much the same way as the 61-57 loss to Summit in the Arlington Classic on Dec. 1.
“We just couldn’t finish," Waxahachie head girls’ basketball coach Lesli Priebe said. "In order for us to be successful in this district, we are going to have to finish. I was proud of their effort, I mean my gosh. We fought. We have to do better boxing out. We don’t have any size, and you can’t let them get 15, 16, 17 offensive rebounds against you and be successful.”
Both teams came out of the gate slow on offense and entered the halftime locker room tied at 22.
After hitting seven straight from the free throw line, Sarah Bush split a pair with under three minutes to play in the third quarter to push Waxahachie ahead 35-32. Two Summit free throws and a floater in the lane by Tamera Derrough gave the Lady Jaguars their first lead in the last two minutes, 36-35.
Yet again, it was a perfect trip to the charity stripe for Bush that paced the Lady Indians' offense. Her two free throws put Waxahachie back on top 37-36 with 1:04 to go in the third quarter.
Bush finished the game with a team-high 19 points on 12-of-16 shooting from the free throw line.
“Sarah did a really good job from the free-throw line,” said Priebe of the effort at the line. “I thought she did a good job for us tonight on the offensive end. […] Those free throws are huge, especially with the score being as close as it was then.”
Summit closed the quarter on a 4-2 run for a 40-39 lead, but it could have been a three-point lead had Bush of knocked recovered on the defensive end for a block of 5-foot-9 forward Kayla Watson.
With the game tied at 40-all, Cassidy Morgan took a pass at midcourt for a Lady Indian fast break, absorbed a hard foul in the paint and got the bucket to go. She then popped the net on the free throw to complete the and-one for a 43-40 Waxahachie lead with under 5:30 to play.
After a pair of Summit free throws, Mya Williams drove the left baseline for a layup and reclaimed the Lady Indian three-point lead, 45-42, with 3:42 on the fourth-quarter clock. Summit responded on its ensuing trip down the court, and the Lady Jaguar defense quickly forced Priebe to call a timeout after the Lady Indians struggled to move the ball across midcourt.
After the game, Priebe said she focused the 30-second timeout on regrouping the Lady Indians and emphasizing the need for crisper passes during the Summit press.
“We have to have better execution on our press breaks. We were throwing rainbow passes instead of pass faking and zipping it over there," she explained. "We just didn’t do a job of it but when we did break it, we were successful. We were getting to the line or getting a basket out of it.”
A pair of Lady Indian turnovers — one on each end of the court — ended in Tommisha Lampkin banking home a three-pointer for a 47-46 Summit lead with under one minute to play.
Diamond Atchison locked down the Summit point guard, Lindsey Claude, to force a Lady Jaguar timeout with 33.8 seconds on the clock and the Lady Indians still trailing by one.
“Diamond, as a sophomore and junior, was a defensive MVP in this district and to do that in this district is a huge honor," Priebe said. "I thought she did a good job of harassing the ball and putting pressure on them.”
Tamera Derrough hit the first of her two free throws but missed the second — and a Lady Indian fast break followed.
With 18.3 to play and Waxahachie down two, Williams took a foul in the post and banked the shot home. Her free throw completed the and-one for a 49-48 Lady Indian lead.
It sent the soon-to-be stunned throng of Lady Indian supporters into a frenzy.
An off-balanced Summit's Zaria Williams threw a prayer high off of the glass on the Lady Jaguar end with 4.44 seconds on the clock for a 50-49 Summit lead.
After a missed Waxahachie shot from the field and quick foul, the Lady Jaguars added a free throw for the 51-49 road win.
In addition to Bush's 19 points, Rayna Ross finished with a double-double, posting 10 rebounds with her 10 points. Williams finished with nine points, Morgan and Atchison added five, and Paris Gantt had one.
Bush added three steals and three blocks to her stat line.
Unfortunately, the Lady Indians will have the entire Christmas break to dwell on the loss. Waxahachie returns to action Jan. 3 on the road against Red Oak.
Priebe said she expects her team to get back to work at practice and learn from the Tuesday tilt against Summit.
“We just have to continue to work on the things that we are not doing well," she said. "If we do that, then next time we will have a better game against them (Summit)."
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith