Both Ellison and Killeen’s head coach admitted that their teams left everything they had on the court Tuesday.
You could see it. Neither team wanted to leave Killeen High School with a loss. In the end, Ellison withstood a Roos team that battled until the very end and came away with a huge District 8-6A win on the road, 53-48 in overtime.
“Right now in district you just try and get wins, no matter how you get them,” Ellison head coach Alberto Jones Jr. said. “We have a lot of stuff to work on, but I would rather work on them getting wins instead of getting losses.”
Ellison’s win, combined with Shoemaker’s victory at Waco Midway, left all three teams atop the district standings.
Neither team had more than a five-point lead at any point in the contest.
It appeared the Eagles would eventually pull away midway in the fourth quarter when Casey Armour dribbled through the lane for a layup while he was fouled. The Eagles had a 37-33 lead with six minutes left.
Just like they did all game, the Kangaroos never gave in.
After Dekelvin Garrett and Chris Goff made shots, the Roos trailed 37-35.
A few minutes later, 6-foot-3 junior Trayvon Todd took the ball from the top of the key and dribbled past two defenders for the layup while he was fouled, which sent the home crowd to its feet. Killeen had its first lead of the fourth quarter, 41-40, with 1:45 left in regulation.
Todd led the Roos with a game-high 19 points.
After a couple of Eagle free throws, Killeen tied the game at 43 after T.J. Robinson’s basket.
Ellison (17-5, 3-1 8-6A) had one final chance at the win in regulation, but turned the ball over with six seconds left. Killeen’s shot at the buzzer bounced off the rim, and both teams gathered themselves for overtime.
In the extra period, Ellison pulled away when 6-foot-6 center Elijah Moleon’s two free throws were successful, giving Ellison a 49-46 lead. Michael Aranda stole the ball from the Roos on their next possession, and the Eagles finished at the other end on Moleon’s two-handed slam.
Dajuan Jones added another steal when he stepped in front of a Killeen player, and passed ahead to Armour for another dunk and a 53-46 lead.
All evening long, Killeen (11-10, 2-2) had no answer for Moleon under the basket. The junior finished with a team-high 15 points and seven rebounds.
“The sky is the limit for him, talent-wise.” Jones Jr. said. “He played his best game of the year tonight. He plays with a lot of fire and emotion, and he really did a great job for us today.”
Also for Ellison, Aranda scored 11 points, Armour had 10 points, Jones eight, and Travian Wright seven. Aranda helped with five rebounds and three steals.
“The team really got together, and pushed through tonight. We work really hard tonight, we were able to pull through and able to get a huge road win tonight,” Moleon said.
Ellison was 14 of 22 from the free-throw line, while Killeen hit 7 of 14.
Coach Jones praised the way his team fought all game and never gave in to the loud and rowdy crowd on the road.
“Killeen always plays us hard, especially here,” Jones said. “Getting road wins is hard, real
hard, because they are so few and far between. Every team in this district is capable of beating anybody on their court.”
Despite the loss, Roos head coach Reggie Huggins liked the way that his team was able to withstand several Ellison rallies, and appeared to take hold of the contest.
“This is one of those games where you wish there wasn’t a loser because both teams played so hard,” Huggins said. “They really hurt us on the backboard tonight, but I’m happy with the way my kids battled all game.”
For Killeen, six different players scored. Robinson finished with 10, while Goff had eight and Jaelyn Williams six.
Killeen travels to Copperas Cove on Friday, while Ellison hosts Belton.
“We just have to keep pushing forward,” Moleon said.
“You can’t take any night off in this district. You have to come to play.”