The Ellison Lady Eagles defeated host Shoemaker on Tuesday, 75-55, and became the first girls’ basketball team in school history to finish district play with a perfect 14-0 record.
“This is an unbelievable feeling right now,” said Lady Eagles guard Bri’anna Gray who scored 13 points. “We set this goal at the beginning of the season and now that it’s happened it feels almost unreal. We’re all really excited and happy about what we just accomplished.”
Ellison led 18-12 after one quarter and 43-28 at halftime. After three quarters the score was 58-40 and, with a 20-point lead, Ellison head coach Sherry McKinnon pulled her starters midway through the fourth.
“I have to confess I’m a little teary-eyed right now,” McKinnon said. “Every girl got to play tonight and that was important to me because every girl on our team contributed to us being undefeated.
“There aren’t very many teams in the state that can say they finished their district play undefeated.”
And there may not be any other undefeated teams that can say they only have two seniors on their roster, like Ellison.
In a substitute role on Tuesday, senior post Nykitta Williams grabbed four rebounds, played tough defense and made two steals.
“Nykitta played so well for us tonight,” McKinnon said. “She came in there and grabbed some very big rebounds for us and played some excellent defense, too.”
“We had this goal to be 14-and-0 and we were determined not to be stopped tonight,” Williams said. “All season, it was a hard fight but it was worth it. It feels surreal to know that we went undefeated in our district.”
Senior starting guard Francesca Patrick played a game that also bordered on the surreal.
For starters, the 5-foot-5 Patrick scored eight points — three field goals — within a 19-second span in the first quarter.
Patrick ended up with a game-high eight assists and some of those passes were absolutely brilliant. Shoemaker tried to full-court press Ellison, but Patrick kept cool and, quite often, broke that press herself.
She ended up with 15 points, five steals and four rebounds.
“Francesca was so great for us tonight,” said Ellison freshman forward Madison Hattix-Covington, who scored a game-high 18 points. “Francesca was sprinting up and down the court for us, dominating on defense and on the other side, running our offense.”
“We were relaxed tonight,” Patrick said. “We wanted to get this 14-and-0 thing accomplished. We’d been working so hard since the preseason for this.”
What has almost become a rite of passage, Hattix-Covington dominated the third quarter on Tuesday, netting four field goals and scoring nine points.
“It’s getting kind of crazy how Madison always plays so well in the third quarter,” McKinnon said. “She always seems to dominate those third quarters.”
“I think I’m just more relaxed after halftime,” Hattix-Covington said. “I just go as hard as I can.”
Also for Ellison, Jordanna Porter scored 12 points, Nadia Carter seven, Damara Kennedy and Arriyanna Forch had four points apiece and Naomi Burnette scored two.
Jonette Jackson led Shoemaker (3-11 8-5A, 6-21) in scoring with 15 points, Yeritza Valentin scored eight, and Kaitlynn Brown and Shadazia Birchette each had seven.
On being the District 8-5A champions, owning a 14-0 league record, making school history and sporting a 25-7 record, Patrick said, “That’s all good. But it’s not enough. We’re a little greedy. But it’s a good kind of greedy. We set our goal and now we hit it. Now we have another goal — state. We want to get to state.”
And perhaps, then, make a little more school history.