No. 5 Runnin’ Indians set sights high

With talented twosome plus supporting cast, WHS plans to go far in 2020-2021

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light

The Waxahachie Runnin’ Indians are off and running in the 2020-2021 season, with a long and arduous path to the playoffs scheduled to begin Tuesday night at Lewisville.

Head coach Greg Gober’s Runnin’ Indians are coming off a 30-win season and a three-round advance in the Class 6A playoffs. They sport not one, but two Division I signees: CJ Noland, who is headed to the University of Oklahoma; and Jalen Lake, who inked with Colorado State University.

With Noland, Lake and graduated BJ Francis leading the way, the Runnin’ Indians were ranked as high as No. 5 in the state at one point last year. They finished as District 7-6A runners-up and got to the 6A Region I quarterfinals before falling to No. 6-ranked Richardson High.

This year, the Indians open at No. 5 in the 6A Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll, and three of the four teams ahead of them in the rankings will face WHS this season. District mate Duncanville is ranked No. 1 in Texas’ highest classification, while No. 2 Richardson will visit Mike Turner Gymnasium on Dec. 4. Also, No. 4 San Antonio Wagner will come visit Gingerbread City on Dec. 11.

Noland, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound shooting guard whom has tagged as a four-star recruit, chose the Sooners over reported scholarship offers from 14 other schools. He averaged 20 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 2.7 assists per game as a junior.

Lake, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting guard, chose the Rams over a total of 17 offering teams, including Oklahoma State, Tulsa and Virginia Commonwealth. Lake, who transferred from Mansfield Lake Ridge before last season, averaged 14 points and three assists as a junior.

Once football season ends — and with the Indians qualifying for the playoffs, it could be a while — senior Preston Hodge will add more experience to a squad that, after the big two of Noland and Lake, looks pretty promising, if untested.

Among the newcomers, there is already a lot of social media buzz around senior small forward Montez Young Jr., who gives the Indians a huge defensive boost as well as a third offensive option. Sophomore power forward Darkaun King is a player who has been tabbed by observers for his upside. And junior V’zarion Roberson is a likely candidate to take over for the graduated Francis at the point.

Other varsity returnees from last year include seniors Christian O’Donnell and Dmarion Collier, and junior Jordan Davis.

The Indians will return to Lewisville to play iSchool on Friday night at 7:30 p.m., then will have a busy Thanksgiving holiday week as they will make their Mike Turner Gymnasium debut against Plano John Paul II next Tuesday, Nov. 24 and will host Lancaster three days later on Black Friday.

District 11-6A play begins on Dec. 23 against Waco Midway on the road. Because of COVID-19 precautions, there will be no regular-season tournaments this season.