CORSICANA — You might say the game was on the line for the Waxahachie Indians.
In both district meetings with the Corsicana Tigers, the Indians were a combined 26-of-40 from the free-throw line.
As for the Tigers, they received only three invitations to the line during the two-game series.
Free throws gave the Indians the edge, again, as they regained the lead in the final three minutes to end a four-game losing streak 55-48 Tuesday at the Tigers’ Den.
The Indians (10-14, 3-4) shot 75 percent from the free-throw line, while the Tigers (5-13, 0-7) watched their fate be decided at the line again.
In the Dec. 19 game, the Indians took the lead in the game’s final seconds with free throws and the loss started the Tigers’ current seven-game district slide.
“We just got killed from the line in our two games with Waxahachie,” Tigers coach Andy Dotson said. “You just don’t get to the line as much being as undersized as we are.”
Indians coach Lonnie Gaylor said it was nice to snap the losing streak and get back to winning.
“Tonight, we seemed to put together four solid quarters,” Gaylor said. “It was a big win on the road for us.”
The Indians came out in a full-court press and started out with 9-0 run that was instigated by post Gary Mason’s six points underneath the basket.
Tigers sophomore Otis Jackson got his team going with two 3-pointers.
Teammate Jarrod McAdams got the Tigers back to even with two put-backs to make it 11-11.
The Tigers’ Darnelle Reese and Mason traded blows throughout the second quarter.
While Reese was making 18-foot jumpers to keep his team in it, Mason was making 15-foot free throws and adding lay-ins to keep the Indians within three.
Mason was 4-for-5 from the line with two lay-ins during the second quarter for eight of his game-high 24 points.
Gaylor said Mason has been a force inside for the Indians.
Coming off a knee injury from last season, the junior has been averaging around 13 rebounds per game.“We did a lot better job this time than we played them the first time in getting the ball into (Mason),” Gaylor said. “He’s really blossomed the last five or six district games.”
While Corsicana led the entire second quarter, the Indians’ Tafarin Johnson hit a 3-pointer as time expired to send his team into the locker room with a 26-25 lead and a little momentum.
The Tigers’ Chris Meankins got things going in the second half when he stole an errant pass and took it the length of the floor and finished with an uncontested lay-up.
Mason scored five of his team’s eight third-quarter points.
The Tigers caught a second wind in the third quarter, thanks to Jackson (21 points) and Reese (15 points). Jackson had nine points while Reese helped out with five to put the Tigers up by seven going into the final period, 41-34.
The Tigers’ lead didn’t last long as the Indians opened the fourth quarter with an 8-2 run to cut the lead to 43-42.
Mason eventually gave Waxahachie the lead back for good with a power move inside to give his team the 46-45 edge.
The Indians scored 21-fourth quarter points to the Tigers’ seven.
The Indians built on to their lead with free throws. While Waxahachie was 8-of-12 from the line in the fourth quarter, Corsicana made it to the line only twice the entire game.
Dotson said the losses can be “gut-wrenching,” but he’s been impressed with the way his team has fought through it.
“We’re not dead yet,” Dotson said. “We’re going to keep fighting. … It’s a bounce here and a shot there in this district, and unfortunately we haven’t had a shot bounce our way.”
Waxahachie 55, Corsicana 48
Waxahachie 11 15 8 21 - 55
Corsicana 13 12 16 7 - 48
Waxahachie (10-14, 3-4) - Tafarin Johnson 10, Jamison Sterns 10, Riley Battle 5, Roderick Jefferson 5, Gary Mason 25.
Corsicana (5-13, 0-7) - Darnelle Reese 15, Nea Williams 4, Chris Meankins 4, Otis Jackson 21, Jarrod McAdams 4.