A heavy-weight bout unfolded Tuesday inside the College Park Center.
Lancaster punched the Runnin' Indians in the mouth shortly after winning the opening tip. Waxahachie slugged back in the second quarter.
The two state-ranked foes then traded blows throughout the second half before the Lancaster's Wade Taylor delivered back-to-back haymakers.
The Tigers defeated the Runnin' Indians and advanced to the 5A Region II tournament, 75-67.
Lancaster ended the game on a 23-6 run. Waxahachie won the previous two meetings by double-digits against the District 10-5A opponent, though the second needed overtime.
LaQuan Butler led the Tigers with 19 points and Carlos Johnson finished with 18. Wade Taylor added 13 and Mike Miles had 11.
Tre Gipson posted a game-high 21 points for the Runnin' Indians. Demani Richardson added a season-high 16 points and Larry Wise had 11. Qua Grant scored nine, CJ Noland finished with seven, and Tevin Wofford chipped in two.
Waxahachie struggled on both ends of the court early, as the Runnin' Indians were scoreless until Tre Gipson converted an and-one with 5:36 to play in the opening quarter.
Shortly after, a Runnin' Indian turnover led to a second-consecutive Carlos Johnson three-pointer that put the Tigers ahead, 15-7. Another missed opportunity for Waxahachie on the offensive end resulted in a Lancaster bucket in transition and 10-point Tiger lead.
The momentum soon swung to the other corner.
Waxahachie ended the first quarter on an 8-2 run to pull within two, 19-17.
Demani Richardson scored the first four points of the second quarter. Freshman CJ Nolland then drilled a three-pointer to give the Runnin' Indians their first lead, 24-21. The basket, which came fewer than two minutes into the second quarter, highlighted a 17-2 Waxahachie run.
When the first half was all said and done, the Runnin' Indians carried a two-point lead, 36-34, into the locker room.
Richardson scored the first five points for Waxahachie out of the break. The early momentum continued when Grant converted a pair of free throws with 4:33 to play in the third quarter to put the Runnin' Indians up by 10 points, 46-36. The perfect trip to the line completed a 20-point swing that began around the same mark in the first quarter when the Tigers led 17-7.
Lancaster, highlighted by six points from Johnson, scored the next seven points to pull the Tigers back within three, 46-43.
The Tigers weren't done, either.
LaQuan Butler scored his fifth point of the third quarter on a fastbreak after a Waxahachie timeout to inch the Tigers closer, 50-49.
Lancaster then took a one-point lead before Grant drilled a trey at the buzzer for a 53-51 Waxahachie lead at the end of three.
Grant scored the first two buckets of the fourth quarter for the Runnin' Indians, but it was the second that stood out.
After a handful of quick misses and transitions for both teams, Grant drove the length of the floor and drew a foul in the lane. The bucket kissed off the of glass and the ensuing free throw was perfect for a 58-51 Waxahachie lead.
The next time a Runnin' Indian found the bottom of the bucket it also resulted in three points the old-fashioned way. Richardson bodied a foul in the lane and banked home the free throw for his 17th point of the ballgame and an eight-point Waxahachie lead, 61-53, with under five minutes to play.
The Tigers then began swinging — often.
Lancaster eventually pulled within a single possession, 65-64, with 2:14 to play in the fourth quarter.
Wade Taylor then tied the ballgame at 67 as the clock dipped under two minutes when he drilled a transition three-pointer. Lancaster retook the lead for the first time in the second half when Taylor popped the net from three-point land a few seconds later for a 70-67 Lancaster lead with 57.8 seconds on the clock.
The Runnin' Indians had four chances underneath the basket on the ensuing possession and another when Gipson released a three from the top of the key but came up empty.
Mike Miles split a trip to the line for a four-point Tiger lead and under 30 seconds to play. They eventually held on for the 75-67 win.