Goal in sight: WHS routs Cy-Woods in region semis
Noland, Young team up to give Houston-area team fits; rival Duncanville next at home
TEMPLE — What could be the de facto Class 6A state championship game — No. 1 Waxahachie vs. No. 2 Duncanville — was scheduled to take place on Friday night in the 6A Region II finals on the Runnin’ Indians’ home floor.
The Indians set up the winner-take-all game for a berth in the 6A state semifinals after blowing past Cypress Woods, 84-51, on Tuesday night at Temple High School for their 20th victory of the COVID-19-altered season.
It’s the Indians’ deepest basketball advance yet at the 6A level, of course, but also the second time the team has reached the region finals in four seasons.
The region final against the 2019 state champion and 2020 state semifinal-qualifying Panthers was set for Friday night at Mike Turner Gymnasium in what almost certainly could be considered the biggest home game in WHS hoops history. Tickets were sold out in one minute on Thursday, as soon as they became available online at high noon. A “White Out” was being promoted by the club in advance.
In the two District 11-6A front-runners’ one meeting this season, on Jan. 9, the Runnin’ Indians won at Duncanville in overtime, 88-85, leading to the Tribe winning the district crown. It remained the only loss of the season for the powerhouse Panthers going into Friday night. The return game at MKT in early February had to be canceled because of a COVID outbreak within the WHS program.
Seniors CJ Noland and Montez Young both seized the mantle on Tuesday night and led the Indians to the dominating conquest as WHS (20-2) outscored the Wildcats in every period, and by quite a bit.
Noland, an Oklahoma signee, wound up with a game-high 24 points and six rebounds, including 18 points in the first half as the Indians doubled Cy-Woods at the intermission, 36-18.
Young, who’s still hoping to attract the interest of college recruiters, closely followed with a strong double-double with 23 points and 16 rebounds, including 10 offensive boards. Thirteen of Young’s points came in an explosive third quarter as the Tribe widened the advantage further to 62-36.
V’Zarion Roberson pitched in with 10 points, followed by Jalen Lake, who is getting back into form after missing a couple of games with an injury, with seven tallies. Other scorers for WHS were Prince Banks with six, DJ Pigford and Matthew Green with three each, and Jordan Davis, Preston Hodge and Christian O’Donnell all with a deuce.
Pierce Matthews and Damian Watson finished with 11 and 10 points respectively for Cy-Woods (22-4).
The Indians took a 16-game winning streak into Friday night’s showdown. Their only two losses of the season were both on the road in the team’s first six games, at nationally-playing independent Lewisville iSchool and at 6A No. 8 McKinney.