ENNIS — Two quarters of high school basketball was all Waxahachie High School needed to beat Dickinson High School 67-45 during the first round of Thursday's Ennis Varsity Tournament at EHS Gymnasium.
Seventeen points from junior Sha'Quoria Thompson and one of the (6-3) Lady Indians' best shooting performances of the season didn't hurt their chances of toppling the Lady Gators, either.
"They really came out in the first quarter and set the tone on both ends of the floor," said Lesli Priebe, the head girls basketball coach at WHS, about the win against one of District 24-6A's best teams. "They knocked down good shots and relied on ball movement and patience to get good looks."
Her team not only rebounded from their shooting woes against Mesquite Horn High School on Tuesday, their top three scorers — Thompson (8-for-16), freshman Rayna Ross (5-for-9) and sophomore Paris Gantt (5-for-12) — each had shooting percentages higher than 40.
"Shot selection is huge," Priebe added. "If you're not taking good shots, setting good screens and penetrating and drawing defenders, sometimes it's impossible to sustain runs. You don't give yourself a chance to win a ball game."
Before entering the tournament, Dickinson (6-4) won two of their last three games and scored an average of 36 points per game against 6A competition during the stretch.
Waxahachie's defense, which has had a roller coaster ride of production this season, clamped down on the Lady Gators' offense and held every player outside junior combo guard Beyince Evans (24 pts) to five or fewer points. Led by Cassidy Morgan's six steals, Waxahachie forced 27 turnovers and held their first round opponent to 12 total points in the final two quarters after allowing 14 in the first and 18 in the second.
The team's ball movement, lane penetration and commitment to winning the rebounding edge, Priebe said, was a key component to their win and noted the play of Thompson, junior Diamond Atchison and sophomore Destiny Bobb.
Thompson pulled down seven rebounds in addition to her double-digit performance, Atchison scored eight points and had 10 assists and five steals and Bobb added five points. Bobb (5 rebs), Ross (6 rebs), junior Destiny Washington (6 rebs) and Thompson (7 rebs) accounted for 24 of Waxahachie's 29 rebounds.
"Hopefully we can get the ball inside to our posts," Priebe said. "If we can get our inside game working and they double down, we can kick it out to open shooters and knock down the wide-open shots we did this afternoon. When you play four or five games in the span of three days, you really want to focus on fine-tuning your game. At the end of each day and the close of the tournament, our goal is to clean up some of the mistakes that have been hurting us this season."
By winning the matchup against Dickinson, the Lady Indians earned a second-round bid against Mesquite Poteet High School at 5 p.m. Thursday at EHS Gymnasium after press time.