The pressure of a playoff race can either make or break a player.

In the case of Ellison’s Ojai Black, it’s the former. Black received 812 votes to earn the KDHPressbox Player of the Week award.

Black doesn’t buy into the notion that a tight playoff race can be burdensome. “(Its) not pressure. As a team it’s now or never,” he said. “We just have to go out there and play ball like we can.”

Black, a junior guard, averaged 16.5 points in two victories over District 12-5A opponents, Temple and Belton. The Eagles’ momentum was stopped on Tuesday, in a 64-60 loss to Shoemaker. However, Black and his fellow teammates won’t be feeling sorry for themselves.

“We came into practice and we were a little down (after the loss), but coach (Jones) said ‘Why are you down? The loss is over,” Black said.

Despite the setback, Ellison needs only to split its last two games in order to secure a playoff birth.

“We have a home game. It’s the game we want and need.” Black said.

Black’s motivation is more than one dimensional. His team is in a fight for its 18th-straight playoff birth, but that isn’t the only reason he plays hard.

“I do this for (my mother). She’s more than motivation,” Black said. “She’s the reason I’m out there. She is my everything.”

Black’s mother reciprocates her sons undying devotion. She commented on the player of the week board, “You will ALWAYS be my ‘Player of the Week’ !!! Never stop shooting for the stars. All you have to do is believe!!!! I Love you baby...... Mom!”

The Eagles finish with Bryan (2-28 2-10 12-5A) at home and A&M Consolidated (27-4, 11-1 12-5A) in College Station.

“We talk about it in practice, (that) A&M is a harsh (place to play).” Black said. “They’re number one in the district for a reason.”

Although the situation gets bigger with each game, Black keeps himself even-keeled. Don’t expect the junior to try to do too much.

“I don’t put it in my head that I have to take over,” Black said. “Coach says that I have to step up and make plays in order to be the player he knows I can be.”Eboniey Jeter finished second in the voting with 612 votes, ending Harker Heights’ reign of five straight weeks of receiving the honor.

Killeen’s Jasmine Goodwine and Gatesville’s Skye Truss were also nominated, as they averaged 15 points and 16.5 points, respectively. Both players helped their teams gain two victories in as many tries last week, setting their respective teams up for a playoff run.

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