Casey Armour scored 19 points and the Ellison Eagles remained a game behind District 8-6A leader Waco Midway with a 76-67 win over Harker Heights on Tuesday at Ellison.
Elijah Moleon (16 points) and D’Marcus Leach (11) also scored in double figures for Ellison (26-4, 8-2 8-6A).
The Knights entered the match looking for redemption after falling to the Eagles earlier this month.
But after falling out of the rankings following last week’s loss against Shoemaker, Ellison was looking to add another victory.
“We’ve got a goal — winning district,” Ellison head coach Alberto Jones Jr. said, “so they understand that another loss means we’re not going to win district.”
The first quarter was a close battle as Heights was first on the board and held the lead for the first three minutes of the game.
A late three-point play from sophomore guard Shamir Bogues helped give the Eagles an early 21-15 lead over the Knights.
Heights’ defense got three steals off of Ellison early in the second quarter.
At the end of the first half the Eagles held a 42-29 lead.
“It’s always a hard battle,” Heights head coach Celneque Bobbitt said.
At halftime, Bobbitt and his team set a goal of cutting the Eagles’ lead to six points. They did better than that, going on a 12-0 run in the middle of the third quarter.
It wasn’t enough as Armour, senior forward Avantee Bell and senior guard Kadarius Green combined for 12 points to keep the Eagles in the lead.
Heights’ junior guard Jarius Cherry passed to senior guard Dillon Gooding, who went up for layup that rolled over the rim.
Senior guard Dashawn Walker was there to put it back in for two points and the Knights trailed 54-49 going into the last quarter.
Cherry started the last period finding Gooding waiting at the top of the paint to for a jumpshot that brought the Knights within three.
Ellison senior forward Laurence Bryant drove down the lane to push the lead to five.
Armour sent Walker to the free-throw line where he brought the score back within three.
The Knights sent Bogues to the line on the next play. Shooting 1-and-1, he missed the shot, Walker got the rebound and found Gooding waiting on the outside.
Gooding drove down the middle before being fouled by Bogues and sinking both shots to bring the Knights within one.
Knights senior forward Randall Hughes stole the ball and passed it to Walker, who drove down the lane for a layup that gave the Knights a one-point lead.
As momentum was building, a foul was called on senior guard Jayvon Young and senior Moleon made both shots to give the Eagles the lead again.
Moleon had two dunks in the second half.
“That home crowd is there every single home game cheering us on and I really loved it,” Moleon said. “It was a great experience.”
While Moleon put on a show for the fans, it was a hook shot in the final seconds of the game that punctuated Ellison’s victory.
“We needed to win, I’m glad we got it,” Jones said. “I thought we played well in the first half and a little stretch we didn’t play well, so we’ve got to just clean up that little stretch of turnovers and panicking and I think we’ll be in good shape.”
Gooding led the Knights (10-14, 4-6) with 23 points. Walker had 17, and Hughes 10.
Jones believes his team’s second district loss loss last week was a wake-up call.
“I’m impressed with the whole team,” Moleon said. “We all buckled down and got the win tonight.”
Tuesday’s 8-6A boys
- Ellison 76, Harker Heights 67
- Killeen 65, San Angelo Central 63
- Shoemaker 66, Copperas Cove 59, 2OT
- Waco Midway 58, Belton 39
- San Angelo Central at Belton, 6 p.m.
- Copperas Cove at Harker Heights, 7 p.m.
- Ellison at Killeen, 7 p.m.
- Shoemaker at Waco Midway, 7 p.m.