Ellison Lady Eagle coach Sherry McKinnon doesn’t think her team has hit its peak yet.
After the No. 17 Lady Eagles throttled Shoemaker 64-35 Friday night it was hard to see much room for improvement. The Lady Eagles put on a clinic from the defensive side of the floor — most notably in the second quarter.
“We played with some intensity and full-court pressed — that led to some easy baskets,” McKinnon said. “The girls did a great job keeping the ball out of Cion Hicks’ hands — we just grinded.”
With just under four minutes to go in the half, Shoemaker junior Janette Jackson scored to pull the Lady Wolves within 14-10. Shoemaker (7-15, 1-6) didn’t score another field goal until almost nine minutes later when Jackson got a three-point play off a layup and a foul shot.
“Defense wins championships and my girls have really bought into that,” McKinnon said. “The girls also have prepared themselves to be in great physical condition and it’s tough for other teams to keep up with us.”
By then the score had grown to 33-13 as Ellison (25-3, 6-1 8-5A) outscored the Lady Grey Wolves 18-4 during the second quarter.
Lady Eagles senior post Kaitlyn Shearer outscored Shoemaker by herself during the quarter. She scored five of her 11 points and also added six rebounds and three steals.
Shearer was just one of five Lady Eagles reaching double figures, while only Hicks scored in double-digits for Shoemaker. Hicks had 14 points to go with her five rebounds.
Ellison hit nine 3-pointers as junior guard Francesca Patrick hit three on her way to a team-high 11 points.
“We’ve got some good 3-point shooters (so) that’s a part of our game plan too,” McKinnon said. “We’re happy when we’re hitting them.”
Shoemaker was more focused on slowing down Deja Pointer. The Ellison senior guard also scored 11 points.
“(Shoemaker) switched to a box-and-one in order to concentrate on Deja — I would too,” McKinnon said. “She was able to drive to the basket and dish the ball out to open (girls) who hit the shots.”
The second quarter onslaught started at the end of the first. Pointer dribbled to the right and drove down the baseline and hit a jumper at the buzzer that gave Ellison all the momentum it needed.
“It’s hard to win when the kids don’t do what you say,” said Shoemaker coach Lori Shead. “We had a game plan and they didn’t follow it — it wasn’t so much what Ellison did to us as much as we stopped ourselves.”