WAXAHACHIE — In the basketball universe — more so than any sport other than baseball — one shot (or hit) can win a game or change the momentum of a season.
Just ask Daniel Nguyen.
The senior guard's fourth quarter, 3-point dagger helped the Mustangs beat Midlothian Heritage High School, the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches' No. 10 boys' 4A team, 67-66 Friday at Life Waxahachie High School Gymnasium.
The (22-5, 7-1) Jaguars won the first match of the district series on Jan. 3, downing Life Waxahachie 62-58 at MHHS Gymnasium.
Despite almost 10 or more points from four different Jaguar players, Life Waxahachie managed to negate a 20-point Midlothian Heritage second-quarter run with some pluck from Nguyen's game winner, a stifling first quarter and 19 points from Justin Nimmer, the game's leading scorer.
Despite a roller coaster-like first half highlighted by a Mustang 14-9 run and a 20-15 swing that deadlocked the two teams at halftime, it may have been the following 16 minutes that defined the game's ending.
Powered by Midlothian Heritage's Kerrion Fields and Jackson McLaughlin and Life Waxahachie's Nimmer and Joshua Sanders, two of the TABC's top teams dealt staggering blows in hopes of knocking the other out of the contest and either move into or remain in the organization's top 10.
It would take a full 32 minutes of high school basketball to determine the eventual winner, though.
While Fields, McLaughlin, Seth Golden and Stephen Wallace accounted for all of the 15 points scored in the third quarter, the Mustangs countered with scoring jabs from Nimmer, Sanders, David Thompson and Armani Holmes, who helped their team again tie the Jaguars at the end of the third quarter.
As the game wound to a close, it was Nguyen's shot — a well-placed corner three set up by Holmes' drive and dish — which closed the book on Friday's matchup and set the stage for a third head-to-head matchup for the District 8-4A championship.
Nimmer led all scorers with 19 points and Nguyen and Sanders added 13 apiece and Holmes scored nine points for the Mustangs. For Midlothian Heritage, Holland (16 pts), Wallace (14 pts) and Fields (10 pts) scored in double figures and Golden, McLaughlin and Jaren Shead scored nine, eight and six points, respectively.
While Life Waxahachie (22-7, 7-1) will face Alvarado High School at 8 p.m. Tuesday at AHS Gymnasium, Midlothian Heritage will look to rebound from their first district defeat against Stephenville High School at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at MHHS Gymnasium.
Alvarado, at 3-4, holds the district's fourth and final playoff slot and is one game ahead of Glen Rose High School. Stephenville's Yellow Jackets (8-15, 5-3) are No. 3 in District 8-4A and have won their last two games.
Marcus S. Marion can be reached for story idea submissions or concerns at (469) 517-1456. Follow him on Twitter at @MarcusMarionWNI.