Friday night was not the prettiest basketball game the Runnin' Indians have played all season, but it sure did end in the most thrilling fashion.
With under 12 seconds to play in overtime, sophomore guard CJ Noland advanced the ball upcourt and ripped a game-winning jump shot through the net for the 48-46 Waxahachie win against Mansfield Summit.
Waxahachie improved to 7-6 in the District 7-6A standings with the victory and into a tie for third place with South Grand Prairie, who the Runnin' Indians face in the regular-season finale Tuesday night.
Mansfield Summit fell to fifth in the standings at 6-7 with the loss. The Jaguars now need a win Tuesday against second-place Mansfield Lake Ridge and a little help to make the postseason.
Noland finished the contest with a team-high 17 points and converted on 7-of-11 from the free throw line.
Warren was second on the team with 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting from behind the arc, while BJ Francis scored seven, Da’maraie Watkins had six, CJ McGruder chipped in five and KB Jackson finished with three.
Francis led the team with four steals and five rebounds.
Alerick Hall led the Summit Jaguars with 10 points and Amande Uchime had nine.
The Jaguars outrebounded the Runnin' Indians, 25-18, but also committed seven more turnovers (15-8).
A SLOW COOKED EGG
The Jaguars opened the game with a 6-0 run over the first two minutes and change to force the first Gober timeout of the evening.
McGruder promptly drilled a three-pointer from the right wing out of the stoppage to cut the Runnin’ Indians deficit in half.
The three-point Summit lead ballooned back to six, 13-7, when Amande Uchime hit a right-corner three just as the clock dipped under two minutes to play in the opening quarter.
Watkins returned the favor from the opposite corner on the ensuing Waxahachie possession. Noland followed by turning a Jaguar turnover into a successful and-one with a tough finish on the fast break to tie the game at 13-all with 1:08 showing on the clock.
Summit added a quick bucket in transition and carried a two-point lead, 15-13, into the second quarter.
Feel free to breeze through the following sentence and skip to the good stuff: The Runnin’ Indians did not score in the second quarter and ultimately trailing Summit at the half, 22-13.
SPOTTED ‘EM NINE
The third quarter didn’t start much better offensively for the Tribe but a Francis corner three with 3:28 to go at least provided a spark. It also forced the first Summit timeout of the half with the Jaguars still holding a comfortable lead, 31-22.
Jackson followed Francis’ lead a couple possessions later to keep the Runnin’ Indians within single digits, 33-25. Francis followed with a bucket after a Summit turnover with 1:04 to play in the third quarter.
Watkins capped 8-0 Waxahachie run with a three-pointer from the right wing with 14 ticks remaining. The bucket pulled the Runnin’ Indians within a single possession, 33-30, and that held into the final eight-minute quarter.
Each team opened with a quick bucket — with Noland scoring on a drive for Waxahachie — and that 35-32 Summit advantage held as the clock ran under 3:45 to play in regulation.
Following a fourth-consecutive Jaguars turnover, Noland again drove the bucket to tie the game at 35-all. He had converted on the front end of a one-and-one on the possession prior.
A fifth Summit turnover paved the way for McGruder to take his defender to hole for a finger roll off the glass. The basket gave Waxahachie its first lead of the ballgame, 37-35, with 2:16 to play.
Summit later added a free throw and then finished a Waxahachie turnover with a layup in transition to reclaim the advantage, 38-37.
The Jaguars promptly called a timeout with 1:26 showing on the fourth-quarter clock and the Runnin’ Indians playoffs hopes left hanging in the balance.
Noland returned to the line 30 seconds of game time later and split his trip to even the score, 38-38.
Summit was then hell-bent on running out the clock on and taking the last shot, which only worked because of (and I type this with all due respect) not one, but at least two blown five-second calls by an official with Francis all over the ball handler.
Francis was clearly within six feet for a large portion of the 35 seconds that ran off of the fourth-quarter clock.
But the ball never lies, right?
After Summit called a timeout, the Jaguars inbounded with 7.6 seconds to play and had not one, but two shots blocked by the Tribe defenders in the paint.
The ball didn’t, in fact, lie and the two teams headed for overtime.
And it was once again Noland who provided the Runnin’ Indians a little quick offense in the four-minute overtime frame.
The sophomore split four Summit defenders on his way to the basket, absorbed the foul, got the bucket to count and then tickled the twine to convert his and-one. The conversion put Waxahachie on top early, 41-38.
The Jaguars then scored the next seven points to take a 45-41 lead with 50.6 seconds to play.
Noland, like clockwork, returned to the line for the Tribe, this time finding the bottom of the net with both of his attempts. His efforts had the Runnin’ Indians back within one possession, 45-43, with 44.7 seconds showing.
Summit again added a free throw to its lead.
And that was when the magic that the Runnin’ Indians have been looking for all season happened.
On the ensuing Waxahachie trip down the court, Noland drove and dished to an open Warren, who drilled a trey from the right wing to tie the game at 46.
The Runnin’ Indian press then worked to perfection — highlighted by Warren stealing a pass as he was going out of bounds and tossing it back in, ultimately resulting in a Summit turnover.
Waxahachie inbounded with 11.7 seconds to play and quickly advanced the ball up the court.
And Noland delivered.
His contested jumper from a step behind the free throw line found the bottom of the net as the buzzer sounded.
Waxahachie kept its playoff dreams alive, or those same ones that began two weeks ago, with the most significant victory in their new home to date, 48-46.
Waxahachie closes out the regular season at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on the road against South Grand Prairie.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith