One coach made history Tuesday night in Midlothian while the other has to quickly regroup her team to hold onto the final district playoff spot.
Waxahachie head girls basketball coach Lesli Priebe picked up her 500th career victory with the 63-56 Lady Indian win against rival Midlothian.
The 27th-year coach has spent the last 23 years as the Lady Indians' head coach after two years at North Garland and one year in Italy. She has won over 460 of those games in the green and white, which includes a 4A state championship in 2006 and state finals appearance in 2000.
Priebe said the milestone is a tribute to all of the players, both past and present, as well as those who she has coached alongside over the years.
“It is just a tribute to them. I wouldn’t be at 500 without them," Priebe said. "It is so special. Waxahachie is such a great place to coach. You have great community support. Great administration. That is why I have been here so long. It is just such a special place, and I am going to retire here.”
"Eventually," she assured.
Waxahachie head boys' basketball coach Greg Gober, who is in his second year with the Runnin' Indians, called the achievement "tremendous."
"Whenever you get 500 wins that is a tremendous accomplishment," Gober said. "She has done it consistently and by doing the great things that she does and having a program compete year, after year, after year. That is the only way you get 500 wins.”
Following the achievement, Waxahachie ISD Athletic Director Greg Reed invited the community to the Lady Indians' next home game Friday, Feb. 2 to celebrate the milestone.
"The WISD Athletic Department is excited to celebrate this achievement with coach Priebe," Reed stated. "So many Waxahachie players, fans, and coaches, both past and present, have been a part of the 500 victories over the last 23 years and I have no doubt that coach Priebe remembers every one of them. I hope everyone will be able to come out to Solis gym this Friday to support Coach Priebe and celebrate the milestone with her."
WHAT A FINISH
The Lady Indians clung to a four-point halftime lead Tuesday night, 32-28, when Priebe broke the team out of a huddle in front of their bench.
The lead grew to eight before Kierra Middleton made a perfect trip to the line with 2:24 to go in the third to cut the Midlothian deficit to six, 41-35.
Mya Williams then scored five-straight points for the Lady Indians to build a 46-35 lead as the clock dipped under 30 seconds to play in the quarter. Maeghan Palmer pulled down an offensive rebound for the Lady Panthers for an easy put-back bucket with fewer than 10 seconds on the clock.
The basket sent the teams into the fourth quarter with Waxahachie ahead, 46-37.
"Y'all got the easy job," said Priebe to the Lady Indians just before they carried the nine-point lead into the fourth quarter. The reference was a nod to the opportunity facing the Lady Indians to play with a lead, instead of having to chase from behind.
After the game, Priebe said, “I was real disappointed in our performance in the first half. I thought [Midlothian] was hustling more than we were and I thought they wanted it more. Effort isn’t something that I ever want to talk about and I felt like we had to. Midlothian had a really good game plan and executed well. I was glad that we were able to sustain their runs and still come out with a victory.”
The Lady Indian lead grew to 11 points after Diamond Atchison rebounded her own miss for a bucket in the lane.
But the Lady Panthers, backed by a Tatum Sorrels triple from the wing, fought back with a quick 5-0 run. Midlothian was then forced to call a timeout after a failed inbound play, trailing 51-45 with 4:15 left in the fourth quarter.
Midlothian entered the bonus after the timeout and used the free throws to continue their scoring run. The Lady Panthers rattled off nine consecutive points before Williams cleaned up an Atchison miss to put Waxahachie up four, 53-49, with 3:13 to play.
The game quickly turned into battle from the charity stripe with two players fouling out and four more with four fouls, each.
Waxahachie outscored Midlothian in each of the first three quarters before the Lady Panthers took the fourth in a valiant comeback effort, 19-17. The Lady Indians held on for the 63-56 win.
“I knew we were going to get their best and we definitely did," Priebe said. "(Middleton) and (Sorrels), I mean, they played very, very well. [...] But I knew we were going to get their best here because their backs are against a wall.”
Freshman Mya Williams led the Lady Indians with 19 points, just one game after scoring a game-high 25 points in a win last Friday against Red Oak. She also added five rebounds, three steals, and two assists. Four of her rebounds came on the offensive glass.
Priebe, with a slight shake of the head, admitted, "oh my. She's not playing like a freshman anymore."
"She is not playing like a freshman, and we are going to need that," Priebe added. "It is just coming on at the right time. She did well.”
Sarah Bush added 15 points and Diamond Atchison had 12. Both seniors added a pair of assists and steals.
Rayna Ross pulled down eight rebounds and scored seven points in the win. Cassidy Morgan scored five points, Kaleah Young had three points, and Jordan McGee added two points to her three steals.
Kierra Middleton’s 21 points and Tatum Sorrels 11 led Midlothian. Sarah Williams scored nine. Cristina Balderrama added six points to the cause, while Mikaela McGuire had five and Maeghan Palmer had four.
The win moved Waxahachie to 22-9 on the season and 9-3 in District 10-5A. With just two games to go and Waxahachie sitting three wins clear of fourth-place (14-12, 6-6) Midlothian, the Lady Indians cannot finish lower than third in the district's playoff seeding.
Midlothian is one-game ahead of fifth-place (15-14, 5-7) Mansfield Legacy, who the Lady Indians face Friday night at home.
Lady Panther fans will certainly become Lady Indians fans — at least for one night.
Midlothian faces Mansfield Lake Ridge on Friday, Jan. 2. Both games tip off at 6:30 p.m.