When rivals collide, anything can happen.
No. 7 Ennis put its perfect district record on the line Tuesday night against Waxahachie and the seniors in white and green came up big on senior night as the Indians defeated the visiting Lions 69-65 in overtime.
“It was big. They are the best team in district and we beat them,” senior guard Chris Henderson said. “This win means a lot and will push us in our last two games. I want to get to the playoffs.”
Henderson scored 23 points to lead the Indians including the final three points of regulation to tie the game and send it into overtime.
He was fouled on a layup with 10 seconds left in regulation and went to the free throw needing to make the shot to tie the game at 54. Facing a lot of pressure the senior delivered.
“There was a lot of pressure, a lot of pressure. I wanted to beat Ennis bad. We had a bitter taste in our mouth after last night’s loss,” Henderson said.
In overtime the Indians outscored Ennis 15-11 as Henderson led the way with seven points in the four minute extra frame.
“I thought the way we played them over there, it was close, I thought we had an opportunity to keep ourself in the game. You never can tell, if you get down to the end you have a chance,” Waxahachie head coach Steve Weeks said. “Chris came down and made the big three-point play to tie it. That was as big a free throw a kid can ever make at the high school level. It was awfully clutch, I am proud of him.”
Waxahachie (17-12, 8-6) jumped out to a quick lead with an 8-0 run in the first period before heading into the second period leading 14-7. Ennis rallied back in the second and outscored the Indians 17-13 as Waxahachie held a three-point lead, 27-24, at the half.
Both teams scored 11 in the third before the Lions fought to stay undefeated in district with an energized fourth.
There were four lead changes in the fourth as Ennis (23-5, 12-1) found its shot that had been missing all night. The Lions outscored Waxahachie 19-16 in the period and held a 53-51 lead with 55 seconds left in the game after a LeBradford Willis three-pointer.
Waxahachie led from the six-minute mark in the first period until 7:11 in the fourth so with the game headed into overtime Weeks had his concerns.
“There was never a moment when I was not worried,” Weeks said. “Anytime Jordan Mason is out there you feel like he is going to do exactly what he did. We have to send three guys at him to keep him from scoring. There was never a time I felt comfortable until the buzzer sounded.”
Mason finished with 18 points to lead the Lions and made two 3-pointers in overtime to keep Ennis close, but the extra frame belonged to Henderson and the Indians.
Right out of the gate the Indians took a 56-54 lead in overtime on a basket by Henderson. A missed one-and-one opportunity by Ennis gave the Indians a chance to build on the lead as Henderson knocked down a free throw before Nykil Lawson added two.
After a timeout with 2:28 to play the Indians struck again as junior Austin Combs dropped in a three-pointer to put Waxahachie up by eight, 62-54.
Mason answered with a three for Ennis but seconds later Henderson extended the Waxahachie lead with another drive to the basket.
With a minute left in overtime Ennis was forced to intentionally foul Waxahachie. LaDarius Brown sank a free throw to put Waxahachie up 65-57 before Ennis answered and cut the lead to six, 65-59.
Mason, guarded by three Indians, landed a three with a little more than 20 seconds to play to cut the Waxahachie lead to five, 67-62, but two free throws by Brown in the final 18 seconds sealed the upset for the Indians.
“It feels awfully good to get this win especially with the situation we are in. I would not say it was a must win, but it was about as close as you could get to a must win. Getting this win tonight, the last home game for the seniors, is pretty special,” Weeks said.
The win, coupled with West Mesquite’s 59-46 loss to Red Oak, moved the Indians back into fourth place in district with two games to play.
Brown finished the game with 19 points, seven rebounds and four steals while Don King III had two points and led Waxahachie with 10 rebounds.
Combs had nine points, all on three-point shots, while coming up big in the fourth with four steals.
Lawson had nine points and nine rebounds while Robert Lowe Jr. had four points, Ryan Wilt two and Larry Ranson one.
Four scored in double figures for Ennis. Jamar Goodwin and Willis had 13 each. Jeromy Bynum had 10.
A half-game ahead of West Mesquite for fourth place, the Indians will play Thursday at Mesquite Poteet before ending the regular season on Tuesday in Forney.