Another game, another tough to swallow loss for the Waxahachie Lady Indian basketball team.
Waxahachie needed to beat Mansfield Lake Ridge to finish the first half of district with at least a glimmer of hope to reach the postseason. But following Friday night’s 33-30 loss to Mansfield Lake Ridge, that light is just about out.
“It was a tough loss,” Waxahachie coach Lesli Priebe said. “We just got flat out beat on the boards.”
Lake Ridge had a clear size advantage, but that didn’t hinder the girls’ effort. In fact, the coach thought this game was a great display of heart.
“I don’t think they could have played any harder. No doubt in my mind that they couldn’t have played harder tonight,” Priebe said. “And I’m proud of them for that.”
Despite the way the season has gone, as the team is in the middle of its third different three-game losing streak, Priebe has never thought her team has given up.
“Maybe it hasn’t been as evident as it was tonight,” Priebe said. “But they have definitely fought. Especially tonight.”
Lake Ridge jumped out to an early 7-2 lead, but the Lady Indians weren’t down long. They went on an 8-3 run to tie the game at 10 early in the second quarter.
The team then started knocking down free throws, which is something it hadn’t been doing all year. It hit nine straight free throws, seven from Dawn King, to take the lead at 19-16 going into the second half. Three of King’s shots from the charity stripe came after a three-point attempt went long, but she was fouled on the way down.
“I thought we were good at the line. We only got 10 shots, but we hit nine of them,” Priebe said.
Waxahachie then went cold in the third quarter. It scored just four points, the first two and last two of the quarter. The team had a gap of more than five minutes where it didn’t score.
“We just kept turning the ball over,” Priebe said. “And we weren’t getting stops when we did turn the ball over.”
That stretch allowed Lake Ridge to take a 25-23 lead going into the fourth quarter. After two minutes, Waxahachie tied it at 25.
King got a steal and took it for a lay up to put Waxahachie up 27-25, but Lake Ridge countered immediately to tie it up with 4:30 left. Lake Ridge then scored at the 3:30 and 2:30 marks to put the Lady Eagles up 31-27.
The teams traded missed opportunities until King swished a three-pointer to make it a 31-30 game with 57 seconds left.
Waxahachie went for the steal, but had to settle for fouling with 27 seconds left. The Lady Eagles hit both of them to go up by three.
The Lady Indians had one more chance to force overtime and went to King to try and repeat her magic. She didn’t get a good look and her shot went short and out of bounds with less than a second to go.
“That wasn’t a great look, but she’s the one we want shooting the ball,” Priebe said.
The ball went off a Lake Ridge player and that gave Waxahachie one last chance to shoot as time expired. Paris Townsend had a good look in the corner, but she had to rush the shot and it didn’t fall.
King led the way with 12 points and Townsend had 10. Kashyrean Washington added four and both Aarion Copeland and Destinee Pointer both contributed two.
Waxahachie (7-12, 1-6 in 15-4A) has its playoff hopes on life support.
The Lady Indians are just two games out of the final playoff spot, but that fourth spot is currently occupied by Mansfield Legacy, Lancaster and Lake Ridge (all 3-4 in 15-4A). Legacy and Lancaster both lost on Friday to let Lake Ridge get into the four-way tie.
Those losses also mean that Waxahachie isn’t mathematically out of the postseason yet. It will need to play near flawless in the second half of district. The Lady Indians will need to beat all three of those fourth-place teams, Ennis (0-7) and at least two of Red Oak (5-2), Mansfield Summit (6-1) and Arlington Seguin (7-0). Even with that, it could use a little help.
“Anything is possible,” Priebe said.
It’s not too hard to fathom. If you take the Seguin loss out of it, the other five district losses have been by a combined 25 points.
The team has been in just about every game. A few more made free throws here, a late shot falls there and the team could be controlling its own destiny right now.
Waxahachie starts the second half of district play at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Red Oak.