ARLINGTON — Waxahachie High School rode Jalen Reagor's 22 points to an 88-65 win against Westbury Christian School on Thursday at Arlington High School Gymnasium and its fifth victory of the season.
It was an improved performance, Head Coach Greg Gober said, given the (2-3) Wildcats finished 2015 with a 33-7 overall record and was one of the best TAPPS basketball teams in the state.
"We played better than we did last time. We were more aggressive, played more like a team and showed we cared a little bit more," he continued. "We were a little bit more focused and that helped us out a lot."
Though Reagor's second half surge sealed the game for (5-1) Runnin Indians, it was Jaylen Warren that gave the team the initial spark.
Warren scored 11 of his 14 points — including three 3-pointers — in the first half and finished the game with 50 and 80 percent shooting percentages from the field and from behind the three-point arc. By halftime, Waxahachie High School led 41-27 after closing the second quarter on a 21-5 run.
Reagor, who had his best statistical game of the season, shot 9-for-12 and hit all three of his free throw attempts and four other players added ten or more points. While Larry Wise scored 14 points, Grant and Xavier Thompson added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Kenedy Snell (5 pts, 1 reb), Montre Gipson (4 pts, 5 rebs, 4 asts, 3 stls) and Joe Savala (3 pts, 1 reb) tallied significant points that helped Waxahachie score a game-high 33 points in the third quarter. On the strength of a fourth-quarter 16-4 run — and a quarter-high four points be Snell — Waxahachie cemented a 23-point lead late in the game.
Defense, also, was a key cog in the Runnin' Indians' offensive machine. Mar'Quaylen Grant (3), Montrae Gipson (3) and Reagor (2) accounted for all but one of the team's steals.
"Our defense was a big factor," Gober said. "If we don't play good defense, we don't give ourselves a good chance to be successful. Against bad teams you can have defensive lapses, but against good teams you have to play good D. I think tonight's game was a step in the right direction."
The team held the Wildcats to 36.7 percent (11-for-30) from the field and 38.9 percent (7-18) from the three-point line. Aside from 16- and 15-point performances from two players, the rest of Westbury's 11-boy roster accumulated only 17 points.
Waxahachie is scheduled to play District 6-6A Arlington High School (1-6) during the quarterfinal round of the Arlington Classic at 5 p.m. Friday Night at AHS Gymnasium. The winner will face the Arlington Seguin High School-Sam Houston High School victor Saturday.
"They're a really athletic team with skilled guards that blew out Dallas Roosevelt (High School) tonight," Gober said. "They played a pretty good first half but did a really good job the second. It will be a good game for us. We just have to stay true to our identity and do what we need to do to win — whether it's hustling or not going through the motions of playing the game."