WEST — For five minutes, the Ellison girls did exactly what you have to do to win ballgames: make shots and not turn the ball over.
However, they could not put together a full game and the Lady Eagles saw their season come to a disappointing end Tuesday in the bi-district round of the playoffs with a 70-50 loss to DeSoto.
Ellison came out of the locker room looking like a first-place team in the district.
Ellison went up 4-0 just moments into the game, and grew that lead to 8-2 when 5-foot-6 senior point guard Gemma Alhambra drove right through the teeth of the DeSoto defense for a layup, giving Ellison a quick 8-2 lead with 4:40 to play in the opening quarter and forcing a DeSoto timeout.
Alhambra ended the game with 10 points, and four assists.
The lead increased to 14-4 after Cielo McClain’s two made free throws.
McClain led all Ellison (27-7) scorers with 15 points and grabbed four boards.
DeSoto (23-10) quickly went on a 7-0 run to close the quarter, and Ellison’s lead was only 14-11 at the end of the opening quarter.
That 7-0 run quickly became a 17-0 run by DeSoto, and a Kayle White layup following a turnover gave DeSoto a 21-14 lead with 4:05 lead before the break.
All game long, Ellison had no answer for the 5-foot-9 junior White, as she scored a game-high 19 points.
Ellison tried to keep pace with DeSoto when junior Sydney Brock ended the run with a jumper in the paint. At halftime, Ellison trailed by a score of 31-22.
Ellison had trouble handing the pressure of the DeSoto defense. DeSoto forced the Lady Eagles into 24 turnovers throughout the contest.
“I thought we started losing it in the second quarter with all of the turnovers,” said Ellison head coach Sherry McKinnon. “We had 16 in the first half, and you just cannot win ballgames like that.
“I cannot seem to figure out why that caused us trouble, because we played those first few minutes like I expected us to play, but the intensity just changed for us as the game went along.”
DeSoto continued to find its offensive rhythm in the third quarter as it outscored Ellison 16-7 in the quarter, and led 47-29 at the end of the stanza.
Ellison did not quit in the fourth quarter and managed to scored 21 points.
The game was the last for VCU signee Madison Hattix-Covington. The 6-foot- 0 senior went out in style by scoring 13 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
Alhambra, Tacoya Allen, Feliziana Davis and La’Praisjah Johnson also ended their Ellison careers, and McKinnon said the team would not be where it finished without the group, after missing the playoffs a season ago.
“I told the girls that after the game I loved them, and that nobody can take the district championship away from them,” McKinnon said.
“I wasn’t proud of how the game turned out tonight, but I am so fortunate to be around this group, because most of the girls on this team were here last year. I am proud of how the season went. And they didn’t roll over tonight, they fought.”
DeSoto moves on to the area round to face Lewisville.