ENNIS — Three wins in two days has the No. 25 Red Oak Lady Hawks positioned for a Saturday afternoon showdown with No. 6 Waxahachie in the championship of the Ennis Lady Lion basketball tournament.
(12-1) Red Oak cruised through the first three rounds of tournament play with wins over Cleburne (58-40), Carrollton Ranchview (60-53) and Ennis (68-44) en route to a 2:30 p.m. tip in the title game.
“I think we have played well. There are always things we can work on and get better, but we are starting to learn how to play together a little better and use our teammates,” said Red Oak Head Coach Jeff Sutton following Friday’s win over the host Lady Lions. “Offensively, we have some talented players. They are starting to realize and understand that they don’t have to do it all themselves because they have other talented kids with them and we are playing much better. I thought our energy has been really good and the last three games we have done some good things defensively. We are also starting to rebound a little better which helps a lot. Overall, I am very pleased.”
In round three of tournament action against Ennis, Red Oak jumped out to a 22-4 first-quarter lead and never looked back.
Behind another monster scoring game by Madison Washington, who is averaging 20.0 points per game over the weekend, the Lady Hawks thumped the Lady Lions, 68-47.
As a team, Red Oak shot 44.2 percent from the field (23-of-52) and 36.8 percent from three-point land (7-of-19). The Lady Hawks also dominated the paint with 18 second-chance points to the five of the Lady Lions and outrebounded their counterpart 43 to 20. Even more impressive was the 32 points in the paint for the Lady Hawks, while holding the Lady Lions to zero.
Washington led the Lady Hawks with 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting (50 percent) from the floor. She also pulled down five rebounds and dished out a team-high six assists.
Brooklyn Evans scored 14 points and knocked down two of her three shots from behind the arc, while Sarah Bush accounted for 11 points and eight rebounds. Bush is averaging 17 points per game through the first three tournament games after having scored 20 points in each of the first two games.
Serena Patterson scored eight points, while Jesyka Lee accounted for five. Both Lauren Lafitte and Ja’Nae Jones scored four points and Kennedy Watkins rounded out the semifinal scoring with one.
After Waxahachie downed Tomball Friday afternoon, 36-29, the stage for the Lady Hawks second pre-District 10-5A test was set. Red Oak fell in the first such instance against Lancaster after the Lady Tigers mounted a second-half comeback.
“Waxahachie always plays really, really hard. They are really physical and are well coached,” Sutton said. “They are big, have good size, their post players are really good, their point guard is really talented and all the other players do what they need to do. From defense to rebounding to shooting jumpers, they do it all exceptionally well. It will be a really, really hard game for us but we will come out here and give it all we have.”
Opening tip between the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ No. 9 and No. 25 teams is slated for 2:30 p.m. in Ennis. A recap of the championship tilt will be in Tuesday's WDL and on waxahachietx.com after the final buzzer.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith