The Waxahachie Lady Indians made things interesting Friday night at home against South Grand Prairie but could not find enough baskets late in the fourth quarter to upset the Lady Warriors.
Rayna Ross scored seven of her team-high 18 points in the final three minutes to pull the Lady Indians within four with under one minute to play of the eventual District 7-6A loss, 54-48.
“She was very energetic and aggressive on offense. She was getting to the line and making her shots,” Waxahachie head coach Lesli Priebe said of Ross, who added five rebounds and two assists to the cause. “I really thought we were going to come back and win.”
Overall, Priebe said she was proud of the way the Lady Indians fought back and “really tried to get it done and not fold” against SGP. She also noted that the girls “have to understand the importance of playing right when the game starts. We didn’t do that.”
The slow start she referenced in Friday’s game was the defensive lapses that allowed the Lady Warriors to jump out to a 21-15 lead in the first quarter. Priebe considered the 21-point first quarter to be the difference in the ballgame.
The deficit then slowly grew over the second and third quarters as the Lady Indians entered the fourth quarter down, 47-36.
Jordan McGee began the final eight minutes with a strong drive along the baseline and got the tough layup to fall to pull the Lady Indians within single digits.
Sophomore guard Mya Williams then bodied contact in the lane a few minutes of game action later for two points. She had an opportunity to cut the SGP lead to seven after being fouled in transition thanks to a Paris Gantt steal, but could not get either free throw to fall. The Lady Warriors maintained a nine-point lead, 49-40, into a timeout with 4:28 to play.
A second SGP turnover out of the break put the ball into Ross’ hands and she made it count, driving the length of the floor for three points the old fashioned way. Her and-one conversion had the Lady Indians within six, 49-43.
Ross then drained a three-pointer on the next Lady Indians possession. The bucket closed the SGP advantage to five, 51-46, as the clock dipped under three minutes to play.
The Lady Warriors then went into possession mode, with a clear intention to keep the ball outside of the arc and run out the clock.
Well, attempt to run it out, at least. The stingy and high-energy Lady Indians shell defense had other ideas, ultimately forcing a turnover that led to a Ross free throw.
With 54.1 seconds to play in the fourth quarter, the Lady Indians were down just four, 51-47. It was the closest they'd be the rest of the way.
Waxahachie was forced to foul following a made SGP free throw and then a Lady Indian turnover.
The Lady Warriors converted at the line when it mattered most to seat the road victory, 54-48.
In addition to Ross’ 18 points, Gantt added nine points and four rebounds and Williams finished with eight points and team-highs in rebounds (7) and assists (5).
McGee chipped in seven points and four rebounds, Ja’Kyah Head had four points and Cassidy Morgan score two points to go with her five boards.
The loss dropped the Lady Indians to 4-5 in the district standings. They entered Friday’s contest tied with SGP for the fourth-and-final playoff spot, meaning with five district games to go and the Lady Indians sitting at fifth in the 7-6A standings, Priebe said her team’s backs are still firmly pressed against the wall.
“I thought that about tonight’s game, so now it really is,” Priebe added. “DeSoto on Tuesday and then Cedar Hill on Friday, we better be ready to play.”
Waxahachie hosts DeSoto at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Mike Turner Gymnasium in Waxahachie. The Lady Eagles won the first meeting 53-42 on Dec. 18.