MANSFIELD — What a difference a week makes.
Eight days ago, the Lady Indians were the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches No. 13 team riding high after a district-opening win.
A week later, they were on the heels of back-to-back losses after Tuesday night's 54-43 loss to Mansfield Summit High School at MSHS Gymnasium.
"You can't let a team shoot 28 more times than you do and expect to win a ballgame," said Lesli Priebe, the head girls' basketball coach at Waxahachie High School. "Twenty-eight more times. They took us out of our rhythm and we took bad shots, but we have to be more patient [on offense]. We can't allow what I call one-and-dones — one pass and a drive and done or one pass and a shot and done. It doesn't force your opponent to play defense."
Despite keeping the Lady Jaguars' lead to a manageable 10 points through three quarters, the Lady Indians lost their second game in less than a week. Waxahachie (10-6, 1-2) is tied for last place in the District 10-5A standings with Lancaster, Midlothian and TABC No. 20 Red Oak High Schools.
Red Oak lost by three points to Chennedy Carter and TABC No. 1 ranked Mansfield Timberview High School. Waxahachie lost to two unranked teams.
"We did a great job at defending their first shot," she continued. "It was the first, second and third shots and 24 offensive rebounds that killed us."
Priebe and her Lady Indians not only tallied just 23 rebounds — six offensive — through 32 minutes, they also scored a total of seven second-chance points. Their 24 turnovers were also the highest total during their first three district games.
Ten belonged to Ross, who functioned as the team's primary ballhandler Tuesday night.
While Khadijah Kelly and Christina Baker scored 14 and nine points, respectively, for Mansfield Summit and helped the Lady Jaguars rebound from their loss to Mansfield Timberview, Rayna Ross led the Lady Indians with 13 points and Sha'Quoria Thompson and Jordan McGee added nine apiece.
Point guard Diamond Atchison (5 pts), post Destiny Bobb (3 pts) and shooting guards Destini Washington (2 pts) and Cassidy Morgan (2 pts) rounded the scoring for Waxahachie.
"We should have won both games, but unfortunately, we didn't do the little things that count — like boxing out or making free throws," Atchison said. "That costs a lot in a close game. If we had won those two games, we wouldn't be so frustrated about the things we should have done. Because of them, however, we can learn from our mistakes and be a better team after the break."
As a team, Waxahachie shot 35 percent (14-for-40) from the field, 33 percent (3-for-9) from the 3-point line and 57 percent (12-for-21) on free throws.
Priebe said, for her team to have playoff aspirations, it's imperative they use the upcoming week to not only "clean up their execution" but also permanently "fix" issues that have haunted them during the season.
"We've got to do it quickly," she said. "They'll get the Christmas break and then we jump right into the Duncanville (High School) tournament. The good thing about that is that it's going to force us to fix the things that have hurt us this season."
The Lady Indians will have an eight-day stretch to correct those mistakes before facing some of the best girls' high school basketball talent in the country at the three-day 66th annual Sandra Meadows Classic Girls Basketball Tournament on Dec. 28.
FOURTH QUARTER STRUGGLES
Entering the fourth quarter of the game, Waxahachie trailed by only 10 points. Scoreless possessions, however, stifled any opportunities for a comeback attempt.
Mansfield Summit's Amber Dixon scored five of the Lady Jaguars' 10 points — including a coast-to-coast layup and free throw attempt — during a 10-2 run to start the quarter.
"We had four empty possessions and three turnovers," Priebe said. "We missed free throws, executed our offense poorly and fouled them on almost every possession [to start the quarter]. You can't do that against good teams and they're a good team."
The Lady Indians only two points during the first three minutes came from two free throws on six attempts by Thompson. Waxahachie rallied but was outscored 18-17 in the final quarter and lost the game by a nine-point margin.
"As a team, we know the things we need to work on the most. It's stressful losing back to back [games] because we know what we didn't do out there to pull out a win. I think if we had executed better these past two games, we would have come out with a better result. They may not have been wins, but we would have felt better about where we stood in the district." — Paris Gantt on the Lady Indians' losses to Mansfield Lake Ridge and Summit High Schools.
Marcus S. Marion can be reached at (469) 517-1456. Follow him on Twitter @MarcusMarionWNI.