The Waxahachie Lady Indians basketball team returns a large portion of their regional quarterfinalist squad from one year ago and hopes to continue to build around that same young talent when the season kicks off Tuesday night.
Head girls’ basketball coach Lesli Priebe, who enters her 24th season with a career 503 victories, also noted the Lady Indians will approach the game in a very similar fashion as last season. Instead of relying on height or perimeter shooting, Waxahachie will continue to attack the basket in transition and press on the defensive end, making the most of their speed and athleticism.
“We have speed, we just need to learn how to use it, and we need to learn how to use it quickly,” Priebe said. “Defensively, we need to turn it up.”
She added, “In the short term, I would like for us to get better in our transition game and get better on defense.”
Mya Williams, Cassidy Morgan, Jordan McGee, Rayna Ross and Paris Gaunt all return after the five logged quality minutes last season. Waxahachie will also look to benefit from an infusion of young talent the likes of Halle Becerra and Jh’Kyah Head.
This isn’t the first year for Priebe to coach a member of the Head family, either, as her mother, ShaKyra Walker, was on the 2000 team that advanced to the state tournament.
“She is a stud and is the best athlete I have,” Priebe said of the youngest Head. “She is a little raw on the basketball court, but she is quick, fast and aggressive.”
She added that Head, who checks in at 5-foot-7 and will play in the low post, can “jump out of the gym.”
Williams will undoubtedly be one of the focal points of the offense, as the now-sophomore came on strong toward the end of the second half of district play last season, posting three-consecutive 20-point games to average 9.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
She has recently begun to receive Division I looks too, most recently from the University of North Texas.
Priebe said Williams has already shown to be “more aggressive on offense. She is looking to score and she is one of those kids that can average 20 points a game if she wants to.
“I’ve already told her that I want her to score more this year, but I’ve only had her back from volleyball for a week now," Priebe said. "She has looked good in our scrimmages against Wylie East, Frisco and Dallas Christian. She has looked good offensively and we are going to need that from her because we lost Sarah [Bush’s] scoring.”
Bush is one of two Lady Indians who graduated last year, with the other being defensive standout and point guard, Diamond Atchison.
Bush averaged a team-high 13.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game last season, while Atchison, a two-time district defensive player of the year, dished out a team-high three assists per game to go with her 7.3 points, 2.1 steals and 2.3 boards per contest.
Both are playing junior college basketball this fall.
Waxahachie finished last season with a 25-11 record, which included a 10-4 run through District 10-5A — good enough for third place. All four of those district losses came against Mansfield Timberview or Mansfield Summit.
In addition to Williams, Ross recorded a team-high 6.2 rebounds per game this season to go with her 8.0 points per contest last season, while Morgan averaged 6.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game and McGee provided stellar defense, averaging 2.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
The Lady Indians begin the season at 7 p.m. Tuesday at home against Richardson Berkner.
The schedule features three tournaments — Nov. 8-10 in Grand Prairie, Nov. 15-17 in the Coppell Shootout and Dec. 27-29 in Duncanville. The Lady Indians also have home games against Midlothian (Nov. 19) and Ennis (Dec. 4).
The grueling District 7-6A schedule then begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 11 at home against Mansfield Summit. And, as tough as the District 10-5A “of doom” was last season, this season will be even harder to navigate toward a playoff berth.
District 7-6A features Summit, South Grand Prairie, DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Mansfield Lake Ridge, Mansfield and Grand Prairie.
“Last year in the preseason, we played Cedar Hill, DeSoto and, we didn’t always win, but it got us started and ready for a tough district," Priebe said. "Now we are in their district. We know it is going to be extremely tough, but we are excited about it.”