WEST — Casey Armour scored 20 points and the Ellison Eagles snapped Flower Mound’s eight-game winning streak and advanced to the Class 6A regional quarterfinals with a 64-59 win over the Jaguars on Friday night at West High School.
Both teams were far from their home, but it seemed that much of Killeen made the trip to support the Eagles.
“Oh, they love it,” head coach Alberto Jones Jr. said of his team’s reaction to the crowd. “I told them they’ve just got to embrace it because it don’t happen too often.”
It was a close game the entire time as the score was tied 11 times.
Ellison pulled ahead at the end of the first quarter when senior guard Armour drove inside and found senior forward Laurence Bryant under the rim for an easy layup to give the Eagles a 14-12 lead as time ran out.
Ellison (32-4) started the second period with junior guard Amir Davis coming up with a steal and converting it into a dunk.
The Ellison crowd went wild as the Eagles led 18-14 over the Jaguars, but the lead didn’t last long as the score was quickly tied once more.
With seconds left on the clock, the Jaguars (24-9) pulled ahead when senior forward Colton Martin, who led all scorers with 26, connected with sophomore forward Caleb Lohner to put Flower Mound up 28-26 at halftime.
The Jaguars quickly extended the lead in the third quarter but the Eagles didn’t back down as senior center Elijah Moleon hit a last-second shot to bring Ellison within two at 41-39.
The Eagles erupted in the fourth quarter. Senior Avantae Bell quickly tied the score once more with a reverse layup under the hoop.
Armour then hit a 3-pointer to put the Eagles in front. On Ellison’s next possession, Armour lobbed a pass to D’Marcus Leach for an alley-oop dunk.
The crowd roared with excitement as a 3-pointer from Bryant, followed by a crossover layup from Leach, gave the Eagles their largest lead of the night, 51-44, midway through the fourth.
“We knew that if we lose, that’s it for the season,” Leach said of the late momentum his team found. “We knew we didn’t want to go out like that.
“So we all locked in, we all went it and we got the dub,” he added with a bit of a grin on his face after the game.
Flower Mound cut the lead to four but Armour found Bell for another dunk.
A late three-point play from Lohner brought the Jaguars within one with less than 30 seconds remaining, but Armour made two free throws to extend the lead back to three.
Then he made sure the Jaguars didn’t tie it.
Armour stole the ball right out of Lohner’s hands and threw it ahead to Davis for a layup that secured the victory.
“It’s just amazing,” Armour said of the play. “Great overall play from everybody.”
Davis finished with 16 points for Ellison, which will face Allen at a time and site to be determined. Bryant added 13.
“I’ve been doing this for 10 years,” Jones said, choking up with emotion, “I don’t know if I’ve ever been prouder of a group of guys after a game as I am of this group right here.
“From top to bottom, I thought it was a total team effort from all of them.”
With the competition heating up, Jones know there still some improvements his team can make.
“We got to make our free throws, I think we missed too many free throws,” he said. “But if we give this effort whenever we play, I’ll be happy with the results.”
And while most teams worry about what’s next, this group of guys are ready to keep on pushing forward.
“We’re ready to play,” Armour said, “and keep the momentum going.”