Ellison remained undefeated in district play with double-digit scoring from Daija Planas, Aujunnae Smith and Marliah Johnson in the eighth-ranked Lady Eagles’ 49-40 road victory over Killeen on Tuesday night.
“It’s the oldest rivalry in the city,” Ellison head coach Sherry McKinnon said. “Killeen is a well-coached team. They have some great players on their team and so we knew we had to do some certain things and we had to shut down certain players.
“So that felt really sweet.”
The Lady Eagles (16-7, 6-0 8-6A) round out the first half of district play at Belton on Friday night before returning home.
Ellison started the game with a 5-0 run, but the Lady Roos cut the deficit to two at the end of the first quarter.
Planas, who played every minute, got things going with a hook shot that put Ellison on the board first in the second period before junior guard Marliah Johnson knocked in a 3-pointer to push the Lady Eagles ahead by eight.
“Everything was tired but doing it for the team got me through it and playing on this court, the adrenaline got me through it,” said Planas, who scored 10 points.
Killeen junior Meleanna Williams helped chip away at Ellison’s lead after being sent to the free-throw line by Johnson, but it was a 3-point shot just shy of midcourt that put the Lady Roos back within five at halftime as they trailed 22-17.
“We know they’re a good team; they’re successful, they’re well-coached and we just didn’t execute like we were supposed to,” Killeen head coach Jennifer Graham said. “We allowed them to control the game. It was easy buckets we should have put in.”
The packed gym was loud before the game even started but the crowd grew even louder in the last eight minutes of the game.
“It’s always hard playing on the Killeen court, the Killeen audience is always loud and aggressive and they’re aggressive so to be able to tune that out and play our game is always a good win for us,” Planas said.
The fourth quarter started with Killeen catching up rather quickly and coming within four points of Ellison, forcing the Lady Eagles to use their first timeout.
Killeen (12-10, 3-3) applied the pressure in the middle of the fourth quarter with junior guard Ciera Penn stealing from Ellison senior forward Sydney Brock.
Kyla Dupont stole the ball back from Planas as she came down the sideline but Planas quickly took it back and drove up the lane for an easy layup, forcing Killeen to call timeout.
Late fouls helped Killeen come within four points of Ellison but it was back-to-back trips to the free- throw line for Johnson that sealed Ellison’s victory.
Johnson led Ellison with 15 points.Smith matched Planas with 10
“We still have Belton,” McKinnon added, “we can’t just sleep on anybody. We’re not going to take anybody for granted. We don’t care what their record is, we’re going to staff and practice and prepare and keep the mental toughness.
“They have to be mentally tough because now the target is on their back,” she said. “They just know it and they’re hungry. It’s not hard to coach hungry people.”
The victory is also a little extra special for the Lady Eagles according to Planas, “It makes it sweet to be 6-0, really. We’re the only team in the district that hasn’t lost so it’s a great feeling,”
Manesha Knox was the only player in double figures for Killeen with 10 points.
District 8-6A Girls Scores
- Belton 32, San Angelo Central 12
- Copperas Cove 55, Harker Heights 47
- Ellison 49, Killeen 40
- Waco Midway 70, Shoemaker 54