Ninth-ranked Duncanville (Texas)
got much accomplished Friday night. The Panthers avenged their only loss of the season, won a third straight Texas 6A Region II title and advanced to the University Interscholastic League's semifinals, all with a convincing 70-65 win at No. 8 Waxahachie (Texas)
The Texas-sized rematch featured a team-high 20 points from Sam Houston State commit Damon Nicholas Jr.
while Alabama State pledge Juan Reyna
chipped in 15 points to help snap a 16-game win streak for the Indians (20-3), who got a game-high 30 points from Oklahoma-bound guard C.J. Noland
The Panthers (27-1) look to defend their 2018-19 state crown while advancing to next week's semifinals against No. 17 Richardson (Texas).
Nicholas said revenge was definitely on the mind of he and his teammates. The Indians won an 88-85 overtime game at Duncanville on Jan. 9.
"We lost the first game (to Waxahachie) so every practice we've been waiting for this," Nicholas said. "They took it to us at our school so we wanted to take it to them at their house."
It didn't come without a little scare.
The Panthers controlled the game for the majority of the night, leading 17-12 after the first quarter before stretching their advantage to 41-24 at halftime.
A wild third quarter shook things up, as the home team opened the second half on a 15-0 run to cut the Duncanville lead to 41-39.
A corner three from sophomore reserve Aric Demings stopped the Waxahachie run and sparked a 12-5 advantage to close the quarter as Duncanville took back a more comfortable 53-44 cushion entering the final frame of play. The Panthers led by double figures most of a foul-heavy fourth quarter before Waxahachie made a final push in the final 30 seconds.
"My coach told me I needed to step up," Nicholas said of Duncanville's response to the 15-0 spurt. "Down the stretch we just stayed steady. We didn't force anything. No turnovers. We just played hard and played our game."
The Panthers were able to maintain their lead through the fourth quarter, coasting to the gritty road win to re-establish themselves as the team to beat in the Lone Star State.
Waxahachie ends its season with its first loss since Dec. 5.