After defeating visiting Harker Heights on Tuesday night in a fabulous back-and-forth contest, 72-69, the Ellison Lady Eagles are undefeated in District 8-5A play with a 10-0 record (21-7 overall).
The Lady Eagles are a very talented bunch of basketball players. They are tenacious. They are capable of coming through in the clutch. They are poised. They are good sports. They are disciplined.
And they are greedy. A good kind of greedy.
With just four games left in district play, Ellison clinched at least a share of the 2013-14 district title.
“But we’re not sharing this title,” said Ellison junior forward Bri’anna Gray. “We’re on the road to being the district champs—the sole district champs.”
“I have no idea how it would feel to share a title and I have no desire to find out how it would feel to share a title,” said Lady Eagles senior guard Francesca Patrick. “We are not sharing this title. Yes, it’s greedy. But it’s OK to be greedy about winning basketball titles.”
“I don’t even want to think about sharing a title,” said Jordanna Porter, who led the Lady Eagles in scoring on Tuesday with 21 points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. “I wouldn’t like sharing this title at all. We’ve gone so hard at practices all season and have put in so much effort so we feel we deserve to have the title for ourselves. We know what we need to do to make that happen.”
With four games left in the regular season, Ellison just needs one more win to earn the outright championship — the unshared championship.
But even that, one more win, wouldn’t quite feel enough to the Lady Eagles.
“We’d like to make history and go 14-and-0,” Patrick said.
Don’t bet against them.
Second-place Heights, led by its electrifying backcourt of Alexus Dukes and Angela DeLaney, came at Ellison on Tuesday with all guns blazing.
Dukes had 10 first-half points and DeLaney eight, and this contest was tied 32-32 at halftime.
“This game was intense right from the jump,” De-Laney said.
“We’ve been in Ellison’s shadow for so long,” Dukes said. “I really wanted to get out of that shadow and win this game.”
Trailing 53-44 heading into the final frame, Dukes put on an eight-minute, jaw-dropping, did-you-see-that show that bordered on the surreal.
She hit one trey from 25 feet out.
Soon after, she dribbled through four defenders for another score.
Later, she dove on the ground for a loose ball, snatched it from Ellison, rose to her feet, dribbled into the paint past one defender, then another, and, with two more Lady Eagles converging, Dukes dropped in a floating 8-footer.
“I thought Heights played great tonight against us,” Porter said. “But Alexus Dukes was absolutely amazing. She’s excellent and she showed that again tonight.”
All told, Dukes had 16 fourth-quarter points and scored a career-high 30.
“It’s just hustle,” Dukes said. “Plus, I didn’t want to lose. But this game wasn’t about me. I was thinking of the bigger picture — our team. We all wanted to win.”
DeLaney scored 19 points total. Also for Heights (6-4, 16-8 overall), Jada Evans scored six points and Marianna Warren four.
The Lady Eagles had a superb night at the charity stripe hitting 22 of their 28 freebies (78 percent). Porter was 7 for 7.
“Jordanna Porter played amazing for us,” said Ellison freshman forward Madison Hattix-Covington, who scored 12 points. “Jordanna was aggressive getting all those rebounds and she set the tone for us.”
Patrick scored 12 points and Gray nine. Also for Ellison, Naomi Burnette scored eight points, Arriyanna Forch six, and Damara Kennedy and Deja Blanchard each scored two.
Ellison finishes its season with two road contests and two home games. Again, simply stated, one more win and the outright title belongs to the Lady Eagles.
“We’re not sharing this title,” said Porter with a good-natured smile. “It’s kind of a little selfish. But, at the same time, I like that everyone on our team feels this way.”