MANSFIELD — The Waxahachie Runnin’ Indians vaulted seven spots from No. 12 to No. 5 in this week’s Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll after the Indians beat former No. 3 Denton Guyer, 63-55, to win the championship of the Mansfield ISD Spring Creek Barbecue Classic on Saturday night at Legacy High School.
AJ Russ scored 18 points and CJ Noland, who was named tournament MVP afterward, added 17 points, nine rebounds and three assists for the Indians. AB Shorter finished with nine points.
The Indians (11-2) raced out to a 20-12 lead at the end of the first quarter and maintained the upper hand the rest of the way, taking a 41-28 lead at the half. The Wildcats got back to within eight to start the final period, but the Runnin’ Indians kept them at arm’s length.
Amaechi Chukwu led Guyer (8-2) with 16 points, and Brayden Bradshaw added 15 and Tyler McGhie 13.
The Indians reached the final with an 88-67 victory over District 7-6A rival South Grand Prairie on Friday night. WHS trailed by one at the end of the opening stanza, but fought back into a 3-point halftime edge before running away with a 27-9 third period.
Noland and Jalen Lake each netted 23 points to lead the Runnin’ Indians, with Noland shooting 9-of-13 from the floor and adding four rebounds, four assists and four steals; and Lake hitting a trio of 3-pointers and also adding a game-high seven steals. BJ Francis contributed 15 points and Russ nine.
Earlier Friday, the 3-point shots weren’t falling like they normally do, but the Tribe held off Class 5A No. 5 Sulphur Springs, 62-56. Noland led the way with 19 points, four rebounds and three steals, followed by Lake with 13 points and four boards as WHS shot 7-of-22 from behind the arc.
The Runnin’ Indians are off until the Cypress Fairbanks tournament that begins on Thursday. Their next home game in the friendly confines of Mike Turner Gymnasium will be on Friday, Dec. 20 against Lewisville.