MANSFIELD — It’s been a hot minute since the Waxahachie Runnin’ Indians have had this close a shave. But with the calm hand of senior guard AJ Russ, the Indians staved off defeat to remain unbeaten in District 7-6A.
Russ made two of three free throws with five seconds left, and the Class 6A No. 3-ranked Runnin’ Indians survived an upset bid at Mansfield High, 57-56, on Tuesday night.
The Indians (21-3, 4-0) trailed 40-38 at the end of the third quarter and the game stayed close right until the end, when Russ was fouled on a 3-point attempt with his team trailing by one. Russ missed the first free throw, which amped up the pressure, but calmly made the next two to put WHS in the lead.
CJ Noland finished with a game-high 20 points to lead the Runnin’ Indians, and BJ Francis added 13. Other scorers were Jalen Lake with eight, Russ and Sammy Kaoud with seven each, and KB Jackson with two.
The Indians led 11-10 at the end of the first quarter, and inched out to a 22-19 advantage at intermission. But the Tigers heated up from 3-point land, with a pair each by Brian Fichter and Drew Crippen, and outscored WHS 21-16 in the third period to take a two-point lead into the final eight minutes.
Crippen and Andrew Iyamah scored 17 points each to lead the Tigers, while Fichter finished with nine. Mansfield made seven 3-pointers, all in the second half.
The Runnin’ Indians were set to take their latest eight-game win streak into a scheduled Friday night game at Grand Prairie. They will host Mansfield Summit at Mike Turner Gymnasium on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.