Underdog Lady Indians win in overtime

DESOTO – West Mesquite has rolled through District 15-4A play with an undefeated record the last two seasons to open the playoffs against the fourth seed from District 16-4A.

Ranked No. 5 in the state the Lady Wranglers drew the Waxahachie Lady Indians in the bi-district playoffs Monday night at DeSoto High School and once again the girls in green and white had upset on their minds.

Just like last season’s bi-district meeting between the teams the Lady Indians played great defense coupled with smart execution on the offense end to pull away in overtime for a 52-44 victory against West Mesquite (30-6).

Tied at 40 at the end of regulation the Lady Indians knew they had to step up in overtime in order to advance to the area playoffs and face the winner of the Lindale-Marshall game.

Step up they did as the Lady Indians shot 10-of-10 from the free throw line en route to outscoring West Mesquite 12-4 in the extra period.

One of the key players in overtime was senior guard De’Nisha Love. She was 4-of-4 from the line while making the Lady Indians only basket from the field in overtime.

“I was so nervous. I just knew I had to make it, we had to make our free throws to win. That is how we came out on top, everybody went to the line and made their free throws. We always work on our free throws but to me they have been a problem for the team but we made them tonight when it really counted,” Love said.

While the clutch shooting in the extra period was key, the Lady Indian defense put the team in position to win the game.

After ending the first period tied at 10 the Lady Indians held West Mesquite to eight points in the second, 13 in the third and nine in the fourth. Unable to force turnovers the Lady Indians were quick to pick up rebounds off the defensive boards and limited the Lady Wranglers’ second chance opportunities.

“We got our help from our defense. We made them settle for outside jumpers. We took an important charge in late in the game, everybody fell, and it was a big point in the game. Our defense won the game for us tonight,” Love said.

With the game tied at 40 with less than a minute left in regulation the Lady Wranglers had the ball and were looking to run down the clock for the final shot. With 12 seconds left in the game West Mesquite tried to drive the lane.

On the drive attempt a group of Lady Indians moved into position to stop the drive and West Mesquite was called for a charge as the group of Waxahachie defenders tumbled to the ground. The charge gave Waxahachie the ball and a chance to win in regulation.

Despite a good effort and a three-point attempt by Brittanya Sterns the Lady Indians could not finish off West Mesquite in regulation.

“We worked hard. Everyday in practice we worked hard,” senior team captain Rebecca Chagnon said. “We play with a lot of heart, we want to win. We have chants we do before the game to get us fired up and they worked well tonight.”

Waxahachie (22-10) fell victim to several close games throughout district play but made sure Monday they would not be the victim again.

While keeping West Mesquite out of the lane in the overtime period the Lady Indians outrebounded West Mesquite 8-2 leading to long offensive possessions and eventual trips to the free throw line.

“We were very disappointed with our finish in district and we felt like we should have finished a lot higher than we did. We were not playing as well as we could have. We had some really close games and we could have been sitting on the other end of the district race real easily,” Waxahachie head coach Lesli Priebe said. “Tonight the kids played the game plan to perfection. They really executed on both ends of the floor whether we were running a man or zone offense. We definitely wanted to pack in the lane because they are overall quicker and faster than we are. We did a good job of shutting down the lane and making them settle for outside shots and that is definitely what we wanted to do. I am so excited for this team because we have definitely been down. It was really a clutch performance from the line tonight. I am so proud of this team.”

Sterns finished the game with 18 points and 17 rebounds while Chag-non had 10 rebounds to go along with eight points. Chanel Miller and Love each scored 10 points while Shaquille Davis scored four while dishing out six assists.

Off the bench TaKadrian Williams scored two points early in the second period to give the Lady Indians a 14-11 lead after West Mesquite cut the Lady Indians’ lead to one, 12-11.

Overall the bi-district champion Lady Indians outrebounded West Mesquite 36-30.

Next up will be the area playoffs against the winner of tonight’s game between Lindale and Marshall. The area round must be played Thursday-Saturday.