Waxahachie’s boys basketball team reached the playoffs last year for the first time since 2004 and reached the area round before bowing out to Spruce.
Head coach Lonnie Gaylor and his three returning starters are expecting this season go on further than the second round.
“We’ve got some kids coming back that now what it takes to win a district title and win playoff games,” Gaylor said. “With everything we have coming back and the other additions, we’re excited about the upcoming season.”
Waxahachie will be led by seniors Gary Mason, Jr. and Roderick Jefferson, along with sophomore Jamison Sterns.
Mason and Jefferson will not join the team until football is over so Sterns will serve as the most experienced Indian early in the season.
With six players out because of football, Gaylor will get a chance to add depth in the season’s first couple weeks.
“It’s gives us an opportunity to see what the other kids can do,” he said. “The JV kids that will be playing up are going to get a taste of what it takes at the 4A level real quick.
“Having those kids playing early in the season will pay off down the road.”
Sterns is the team’s leading returning scorer after averaging 15.7 points a game last year as a freshman. Sterns also had 31 steals last year, five more than Jefferson and six more than Mason.
“We all know he can do it on the offensive end, but he’s been developing the other areas of his game,” Gaylor said of Sterns. “He’s been showing more leadership at time, but he’s definitely coming around.”
Mason was an all-distinct and all-region pick last year as a junior. Mason was the only Indian to average a double-double last year with 12 points and 10.7 rebounds a game.
After sitting out his sophomore year with an injured knee, Mason did not feel comfortable until midway through last season.
Gaylor expects to see Mason at his best this year.
“I think he thought about it a little last year,” Gaylor said. “The longer he went the more comfortable he got and now I don’t think he even notices it.
‘He’s been playing with wreckless abandon out on the football field and hopefully that carries over into basketball.”
Jefferson scored only 3.8 points a game last year, but his biggest contribution was as a shutdown defender.
On a regular basis, Jefferson would draw the duty of covering the opponent’s best offensive threat.
“Rod had a really good spring and summer,” Gaylor said. “He’s probably one of our most athletic players and better defenders. He’s a guy we’ll count on late in the game when we need a stop.”
Gaylor is just as excited about the other players that fill out the Indians’ roster, which include Darrius Montgomery, Ryan Wilson, Dominique Carson, Danny Gribbs, Relus Chance, Derek Koch, Detric Slaughter and Tim Reagor.
“We’ve got a really well-rounded team,” he said. “We don’t have a whole lot of height, but we have some guys with long wingspans and we’re quick, which will help us with a defense and when we press.”
The Indians will get tested early with games against Everman and University, who they played in the first round of the playoffs last year, and tournaments at Cedar Hill and the talent-packed and tradition-rich Fort Worth Lions Tournament after Christmas.
The Lady Indians are just as excited about their young team that includes a pair of freshmen and three sophomores.
Just two years removed from a state championship, head coach Lesli