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February 24, 2014
When the Waco Lions step on the court on Tuesday night in Hillsboro vs district rival Crowley -- they won't be the taller team, the more physically imposing team or look like anything special in warm-ups. Then the ball will be tossed up...and everyone in the gym will realize they are the most hungry team.
Friday night in Glen Rose, Coach John Weeks' team battled a team that had a height advantage at every position. At one point in the fourth quarter, Waco's tallest player on the floor was 6'1", while Nelson's shortest was 6'2". When Byron Nelson was able to handle the full court pressure, Emmanual Nzekwesi capitalized with dunks as he finished with 29 points. He also collected 20-plus rebounds while swatting away numerous shots at the rim.
None of that deterred the stubborn-willed Lions. Led by 5'9" Matthew McGowan's 27 points and a miraculous tip-in at the buzzer leading to overtime by 6'2" Doug Canada, the Lions were able to survive and advance in the extra period.
"These kids have heard all year they aren't big enough." Coach Weeks said as he embraced players, family and friends on the court. "They just needed a game like this to believe in themselves and what they can do."
Waco will surely bring their feverish full-court high-energy game to the gym on Tuesday. And Crowley will be ready. The two teams split in district play but this one counts. Waco will step on the court and they will be looking up at the men they are chasing and harassing all over the court, but they will not be looked down upon. They play with big hearts and hit big shots.
Win or lose...as a basketball fan, you will get your money's worth watching these mighty Waco Lions play. They will bring it from opening tip to final buzzer. And that is all you can hope for as you take in playoff basketball. To see young men living out their dreams on the court while laying it all on the line for their coach, their school, their families and each other.