GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas -- In a game that meant as much to Chris Washburn as anyone else on the floor, he focused on the words of his coach: Don’t try to do too much.
That's OK on offense. But where it counted most, in the middle of the lane on the defensive end, the South Grand Prairie center stood tall and proud against his former Duncanville teammates.
Washburn, a 6-foot-8 junior, led a suffocating effort that took down the Panthers, 61-52, Tuesday night at Warrior Coliseum.
South Grand Prairie (17-4, 4-0) is tied with Cedar Hill for the District 5-5A lead. Duncanville (17-5, 3-1) is in third, one game off the pace.
“Playing against the guys where I went to school last year, I felt like I had something to prove,’’ said Washburn, who transferred prior to this school year. “This is big for us because it is a district game. And for me, personally, it is a good feeling.’’
Washburn said the conversation during the game between himself and former teammates was friendly.
His air-balled free throw led to some good-natured chirping, but he had the last laugh, sinking four straight foul shots in the fourth quarter.
Warriors coach Brandon Bennett said he talked long and hard to his big man leading up to the game about not getting too worked up.
Washburn, the son of the former NBA player of the same name, scored eight points, but his main contribution was clogging the middle on defense, forcing Duncanville to settle for outside shots.
“We go as Chris goes,’’ Bennett said. “When he is on the court, our team is better. I thought our team played great defense, and Chris was a big part of that. He’s a great shot blocker off the ball.’’
Duncanville, No. 5 in the ESPNDallas.com Class 5A area rankings, fell victim to the scrambling South Grand Prairie defense in the second quarter when it could muster only six points.
The No. 6 Warriors took over the game with a 22-point third quarter when leading scorer Trey Norris (21 points) came alive. Sydney Holloman (16 points) carried the Warriors in the first half.
Duncanville never got closer than five points in the stretch. Senior guard Jeremy Atkins led the Panthers with 27 points.
The rematch will be Feb. 4 in Duncanville.
Girls: No. 4 Duncanville 74, South Grand Prairie 20
The Duncanville (20-6, 6-0 5-5A) girls blew out South Grand Prairie (7-15, 2-4) in the preliminary game Tuesday.
Empress Davenport led the Pantherettes with 14 points.
Jasmine Sasser and Jasmine Washington led South Grand Prairie with five points each.