COLLEYVILLE — It was a frustrating end to a highly-successful season for the Waxahachie Runnin’ Indians on Tuesday night, as Class 6A No. 6-ranked Richardson High sent them out of the playoffs with a 79-58 loss in a Class 6A Region I quarterfinal contest at Colleyville Heritage High School.
Despite the loss, the No. 11 Indians (30-7) made their mark in their second campaign in 6A basketball, perhaps making a bigger impression than their near-upset of No. 1 Duncanville a year ago. WHS was ranked as highly as No. 5 over the Christmas holidays and wound up as the No. 2 seed in a District 7-6A chock-full of talent.
Junior CJ Noland finished with 24 points to lead the Runnin’ Indians, and BJ Francis added a dozen in his final high school game. Junior Jalen Lake finished with nine points.
Other Indian scorers were Sammy Kaoud with six, Preston Hodge with four and Chris Pace with three.
The Indians tried the inside early with Noland getting two baskets and three free throws, but the Eagles held a 17-11 lead at the end of the first eight minutes of play. Noland continued his parade to the charity stripe in the second period, making 5 of 6, but the Tribe still trailed 39-26 at intermission.
Francis, who got into foul trouble and had only five points at the half, made three buckets in the third to lead WHS, but Richardson widened its lead to 55-38 entering the fourth.
Rylan Griffen finished with 23 points to lead five Eagles in double digits. Griffen was followed by Cason Wallace with 18, Gannon Parker with 14, Jaylon Barnett with 11 and Jamille Barnett with 10.
The Eagles (33-3) advanced to the 6A Region I semifinals on Friday night at the Wilkerson-Greines Center in Fort Worth, where they were scheduled to face Odessa Permian at 8 p.m. Duncanville and Arlington Bowie were to face off in the opener at 6 p.m., with the region final set for 1 p.m. on Saturday.
The Runnin’ Indians will be a contender in the new 11-6A next year — even with powerhouse Duncanville joining the lineup — with so many returning talents, including starters Noland and Lake as well as Hodge, who contributed greatly as a reserve and spot starter as a junior.
However, five seniors will be graduating, led by Francis, who carries a 3.5 grade-point average and averaged 18 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals per game this past season. Kaoud, Pace, AB Shorter and AJ Russ will also graduate.