It was a crazy day for both Waxahachie and Midlothian high schools as winter weather forced the closing of both high schools. Without a normal “game day” routine, Wednesday night’s District 16-4A showdown at George W. Solis Gym proved crucial to each team as they looked to open the second half of district play.
Waxahachie opened the game with a basket by LaDarius Brown at the 6:14 mark as the Indians rolled to an 8-0 lead to start the game. The Indians held the lead the rest of the game en route to a 50-37 victory.
“They lost a key player from the first time we played them so they were a little limited with guards,” Waxahachie coach Steve Weeks said. “We thought we could create some offense with the press, we did. We had so many opportunities in the first quarter but could not score. I bet we had seven to eight steals that we could not cash in. It seems like when we press we play with a lot more energy.”
With the win the Indians improved to 6-2 in district play and 8-17 overall while the Panthers dropped to 0-8 in district play and 7-17 overall.
Waxahachie’s energy was evident from the outset as they hustled from the opening tip on. The Indians took a 14-6 lead after the first period of play. Brown led the Indians with six points in the period.
Midlothian rallied back in the second period as the Panthers outscored Waxahachie 14-12. Brown nailed two 3-pointers in the period for the Indians to help keep pace with the scoring of Midlothian’s Derrick Agbaroji.
Agbaroji scored eight points in the second period to lead all players in scoring for a single period.
Leading by six, 26-20, entering the second half, the Indians outscored Midlothian 18-8 in the third period to take a commanding 44-28 lead.
In the fourth period, the Indians continued to play well on defense as the Tribe held Midlothian to nine points. Offensively, the Indians created several points off turnovers as they scored 16 points in the final period.
The 13-point win is the largest margin of victory for the Indians in district play this season.
“Tonight we did a better job spreading the ball around in the fourth quarter,” Weeks said.
By spreading the ball around, the Indians managed to not let the Panthers get back in to the game.
“LaDarius Brown was a monster tonight. We had him playing every position and he was key to our first quarter lead,” Weeks said. “Whatever he does he’s going to be good at it. He is very coachable, and that is so important. He’s a humble guy and so athletic.”
Brown finished the game with 14 points and several steals. The sophomore scored 12 points in the first half and was one of three Indians to score in double figures during the game.
Spencer Barrett led the Indians in scoring with 17 points. He scored at least two points in each period.
Sophomore guard Bryant Harris scored 13 points for Waxahachie while blocking a Midlothian shot in the first period.
Weeks said the guard play by Brown, Barrett, and Harris was key to the Indians win as it makes it hard for opposing teams to guard the players.
Midlothian was led in scoring by Agbaroji with 15 points. Eddie Johnson also scored in double figures for the Panthers with 11 points.
Other players to score points in the game for Waxahachie were Derek Koch (4) and Justin Volentine (2). For the Panthers, Jeramy Charles (3), Trent Morgan (3), Alex Drusch (1) and Adam Bourder (2) scored points.
Harris, Brown (2), Charles and Morgan all hit a three-point shot in the game.
Waxahachie travels to Ennis on Friday while Midlothian hosts Cleburne.
With six district games remaining this season each game becomes more and more important for the Indians’ playoff hopes.
“We can’t afford to look ahead, we have to play our best every game,” Weeks said. “The less we look ahead the better. We always say our next game is the biggest of the season.”
With the Indians’ single game approach, Friday’s game against rival Ennis will be huge.