MESQUITE - The first four minutes couldn’t have started any worse for the Runnin’ Indians basketball team.
Dealing with a full court press, early turnovers and ineffective defense put the Waxahachie Runnin’ Indians down 7-16 forcing head coach Lonnie Gaylor to call a timeout and make a much-needed adjustment - replacement of most of his starters.
“We were pretty lethargic early in the first quarter,” Coach Gaylor said. “We lacked defensive intensity and we needed a change.”
Coach Gaylor substituted four of his starting players and replaced them with four from his bench.
This change provided the Runnin’ Indians with exactly what they needed to capture its fifth consecutive victory 63-53 over Mesquite Poteet Pirates Monday night in Mesquite.
“The four guys off of the bench got us back in the ball game,” Coach Gaylor said.
The efforts of junior forward Derek Koch, sophomore post Relus Chance, senior forward Tim Reagor, senior forward Detric Slaughter, along with sole remaining starter, junior post Gary Mason, Jr. helped close in on the Pirates nine point lead.
Part of those efforts, were slowing down senior guards Walter Reynolds (19 points) and Spencer Collins (18 points) who combined for all 20 of the Pirates first quarter total.
After slowing down Reynolds and Spencer, the Runnin’ Indians were able to go on a 10-0 run lead by senior forward Roderick Jefferson (16 points for the game) six points. This resulted in the score being tied 23-23 with three minutes left in the second quarter.
However, it wasn’t until under three minutes left in the third quarter that the Runnin’ Indians took its first lead of the game 39-38 thanks to a great drive and dish by sophomore guard Jamison Sterns to Mason (21 points) who finished strong with a layup.
Once again, Jefferson was able to keep the Runnin’ Indians in the game with three offensive rebounds and 8 points penetrating the Pirates interior defense.
“I think we started to take control in the third quarter,” coach Gaylor said whose team outscored the Pirates 18-0 in the third quarter. “We were finally able to get the ball inside and do some damage.”
With the score 42-39 going into the fourth quarter, the trio of Mason, Chance and senior guard Ryan Wilson (9 points) took over.
The trio’s effort catapulted the Runnin’ Indians to its largest lead of the game 56-41 due to a 14-2 run.
During the run, Mason had 6 points and a couple of key offensive rebounds, Wilson added 5 points, a couple of contested defensive rebounds and an assist to Chance who provided 4 points and a timely block.
With less than two minutes remaining, The Pirates’ Spencer and Walters attempted to make a come back combining to score 12 points, but it was too little to late. Koch and Wilson combined to make six free throws keeping the game out of reach and securing its fifth consecutive victory.
“We have one game left against Alvarado and then district starts next week,” Coach Gaylor said. “We just have to keep on building. We are still trying to get the right mixture together. I believe we are getting closer to where we need to be.”
The Runnin’ Indians will play its final game before district starts in Alvarado Dec. 14 at 8 p.m.
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