WHITNEY — Ellison senior Francesca Patrick had one word to describe the Lady Eagles’ historical season that South Grand Prairie cut short Wednesday: “Bittersweet.”
After going undefeated in league play for the first time under head coach Sherry McKinnon, Ellison was upset by the Lady Warriors, who led from wire to wire in a 67-47 victory at Whitney High School in the bi-district round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Ellison ends it season with a record of 25-8 after claiming its second straight District 8-5A title.
“We made history,” Patrick said, “but it’s crazy how we fell short.
“I’m still proud of my team on how far we went.”
South Grand Prairie, which moves on to face Flower Mound in the area round, scored the first 14 points of the game to stun the Lady Eagles.
When Jasmine Sasser hit a pair of free throws to put the Lady Warriors up 11-0, Ellison was 0 for 4 from the field with a turnover and no rebounds.
Rebounding was key, particularly early, for the Lady Warriors as Ellison went 8 for 22 from the field in the first half and rarely got second shots, with South Grand Prairie claiming a 21-9 edge on the boards.
“We usually get chewed out for not getting the boards,” said Lady Warrior junior Zhane Templeton. “This whole practice this week we worked on boxing out and rebounding — if we didn’t get boards we were on the line.”
Ellison got back in the game with a 7-2 run to end the first quarter, cutting the deficit to 16-7.
But South Grand Prairie scored the first six points of the second quarter to go up 22-7 on a Victoria Price layup and never looked back.
The lead swelled to as many as 18 before a steal and three-point play by junior Bri’anna Gray cut the lead to 35-20 in the final minute of the half.
But even that momentum was short-lived as Alexus McDonald put back a shot at the halftime buzzer to push the advantage back to 17.
South Grand Prairie led by as many as 24 in the second half as Templeton poured in 12 of her game-high 20 points in the final two quarters.
Gray led Ellison with 19 points while junior Jordanna Porter added 14.
And while the Lady Eagles were disappointed to see their season end prematurely Tuesday, the bitter ending wasn’t enough to overshadow everything that happened before it.
“I’m so proud of my girls and the things they accomplished,” McKinnon said. “Nobody can take away a 25-8 season from you and 14 district wins. So, I’m so proud of them and blessed and privileged to have coached them.”