When Ellison coach Alberto Jones re-joined the team, the Eagles knew.
Jones didn’t have to say anything. The way he walked back into the Ellison locker room said it all: the Ellison Eagles had just won the District 8-5A championship — the program’s first in Jones’ eight seasons..
“It feels great,” Jones said. “I’m happy for the kids. It feels great for me, but I’m really happy for the kids.”
Ellison last won a district championship in 2004 under longtime head coach David Manley.
After beating Belton 92-46 in their home-finale on Tuesday night, Jones and the Eagles waited in the locker room as updates from the Copperas Cove-Shoemaker game came in over the phone.
When Shoemaker hit a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer to send that game into overtime, Jones retreated into the equipment room to wait out the extra period there.
“Shoemaker was up two seconds left (in overtime) and I thought, 'This isn’t good,'” Jones said, “and then I heard screaming. I knew what that meant.”
Malik Hawkins hit seven 3-pointers and scored a game-high 25 points to lead the Eagles (27-6, 12-2) over Belton. James Jessie hit four 3s and finished with 17 points and Thomas Larry added 11 for Ellison, which led 28-7 after the first quarter.
Daniel Mills led Belton with 18 points and Braden Hammond added 13 for the Tigers (8-24, 2-12), who trailed 53-25 at halftime.