MANSFIELD — "Thanks for wrecking the top 25 state boys basketball poll, Waxahachie" could be the narrative on the tongues of every high school basketball oddsmaker after the Runnin' Indians' 76-42 Friday night blowout of state-ranked Mansfield Timberview High School at MTHS Gymnasium.
While the (13-4, 4-1) Wolves had a Texas Association of Basketball Coaches' No. 3 poll position and home-court advantage, Waxahachie High School (14-5, 5-0) entered the game 13 spots lower at No. 16.
They likely won't be by the time students take seats for fifth-period classes.
"We're all about hustle, speed and running — it's in our name. We're going to run all day and outwork you. That's our identity," said Waxahachie junior guard Montrae Gipson after helping his team hold Mansfield Timberview to its season-low total. "We have to stay focused and go back to the basics. This win can't be too big for us. If we take this season one game at a time and learn from each game we play, we'll go far and maybe open some eyes."
Gipson and his brother-in-arms Mar'Quaylen Grant helped wreak havoc in the Wolves' backcourt and were directly responsible for 10 of the Runnin' Indians' 21 forced turnovers.
"We've been waiting to be on the same court a the same time on this stage for a while. We've known each other since we were 5 years old and understood how the other reads and reacts," Gipson continued, noting his instant chemistry with Grant. "It was a little like that last year, but we've done it so much more this year."
Grant and Gipson were the team's second- and third-highest points leaders, scoring 19 points, pulling down six rebounds and nabbing seven steals and 13 points, pulling down four rebounds and handing five assists, respectively.
Each boy had a blocked shot.
Despite drawing even with Mansfield Timberview after the first quarter, the Waxahachie's vice-like defense tightened while its offense picked up steam and outscored the Wolves 49-24 through the second and third quarters and sealed the game with a 16-11 run in the final eight minutes.
During the second and third quarters, the Runnin' Indians turned 12 steals into 20 points. More importantly, they held a Wolf offense that scored at least 15 points in the 15 0f the last 18 quarters of high school basketball to 13 or fewer — including a four-point fourth quarter.
Though Mansfield Timberview's shooting percentage through the first (80 percent), second (60 percent) and third (50 percent) quarters were good enough to earn most teams a win, the shot production wasn't. They hit 9 of 14 field goals during those quarters and finished 2-for-7 on 2-point field goals in the final quarter.
They also hit only two of their nine 3-point attempts.
Wolves' junior leading scorer Chris Mullins, ESPN's 17th best player in the state and 43rd nationally at the shooting guard position, was held to 10 points on 3-for-5 shooting from the field and 0-for-1 shooting from behind the 3-point line. None of the nine other players scored double figures and only three had seven or more points.
The Runnin' Indians head basketball coach, however, said it was his team's gamelong effort was the singular aspect of the game that was an eye-opener.
"We have some really aggressive kids that like to play hard and aren't afraid of doing some dirty work, so it works to our advantage," said Greg Gober, the WHS first-year head coach. "They have such a confidence in themselves as a group versus as a one-man show or an individual. They know the power is in the group. Regardless of the score, they continued to hard and represented their school and the program in a positive way on the court and off of it.."
The assist-to-turnover ratio again was a factor, as the Runnin' Indians had 14 team assists and nine turnovers. To find a negative turnover ratio for Waxahachie, one would have to look as far back as their 63-52 loss to Newington Australia, where they had six assists and 10 turnovers.
Senior Xavier Thompson II, who scored a game-high 23 points, tallied six of the Runnin' Indians 24 rebounds and blocked two shots, said although the win was big, it won't deter them from their goal of the playoffs — or the impending showdown with defending state champ Lancaster High School.
"It wasn't really me but more the flow of the game," Thompson II said. "I just hit shots when they needed me to. This is my third year at Waxahachie but I've never seen us start like this. We're in first place and we might even crack the top 10 if we're lucky, but we know we can do better and go all the way. We know we can win a state championship and the work required to get there."
He also lit his Mansfield Timberview defender up for 12 points — including a trio of corner threes — in the second quarter.
The Runnin' Indians, which are in first place and the lone undefeated team in District 10-5A boys' basketball, will play TABC No. 5 Lancaster High School at 8 p.m. Tuesday at LHS Gymnasium. The (14-8, 3-2) Tigers beat Waxahachie 106-75 and 80-67 in the teams' two meetings last season and defeated Fort Bend Elkins High School to win the UIL 5A boys' basketball state championship in March.
Marcus S. Marion can be reached at for story ideas or concerns at (469) 517-1456. Follow him on Twitter @MarcusMarionWNI.