At halftime, Ellison awoke.
Coming off a grueling run to the Bronze bracket championship at the 32-team Allen Hoopfest over the weekend, the Lady Eagles returned to the court Monday, hosting Pflugerville.
Early on, however, Ellison was not itself.
The Lady Eagles held a slim six-point advantage, 24-18, after the second quarter, but the lead quickly expanded once play resumed as Ellison scored the first dozen points of the third period and never slowed down en route to a 54-31 victory.
Following the win, Lady Eagles senior Arrianna Faulks admitted the team spent the first half sleepwalking.
“We knew at halftime that we had to wake up,” the guard said, “because we were falling asleep on the court. We were tired, and it took some time for our shots to get warmed up.
“But in the third quarter, we turned it up.”
Led by Faulks, who scored all six of her points on a pair of 3-pointers in the third period, Ellison took immediate control and did not allow the Lady Panthers (3-6) to produce a point until 4 minutes, 12 seconds elapsed from the clock.
Then, after giving up the basket that made the score 36-20, the Lady Eagles embarked on another run, scoring eight unanswered points in an outburst spanning into the fourth quarter.
“Once we make some defensive stops,” Ellison head coach Sherry McKinnon said, “the girls get hyped up, and it turns into easy baskets and transition points.
“We created some turnovers, started hitting some big 3-pointers, and then, we were just taking what we wanted.”
Additionally, small forward Nylia Mobley and posts Kira Bass and Di’ambria Whyte began controlling the paint, providing rebounding and second-chance points, while limiting the Lady Panthers’ opportunities.
The production was key, according to Faulks.
“Our post players are always working,” she said. “They are always fighting for rebounds and kicking the ball back out or they’ll end up at the free-throw line.”
Lady Eagles senior guard Alina Simon finished with a game-high 14 points, while teammates Ke’myha Satchel and Evelyn Lorenzo recorded eight and seven points, respectively.
Now, just 10 games into the season, Ellison (7-3) turns its attention toward returning to the playoffs. The Lady Eagles do not play again until Dec. 3, when they open the District 12-6A schedule at home against Waco.
But for now, McKinnon hopes her players simply appreciate the holiday.
“I just want them to enjoy their families for the next few days,” she said, “and then, on Friday, we’ll get back after it, because we want to go into district with intensity.
“We expect to play solid defense, play fast, speed up teams, get turnovers and score transition points.”
Admittedly, the start of district welcomes mixed emotions for Simon, a senior.
“We’re going to be graduating soon,” she said, “so this is our last season on the team. It’s kind of sad.
“But we can’t worry about it really. We have to focus on these games to be successful.”
ELLISON 54, PFLUGERVILLE 31
Phillips 10, Holmes 6, Derby 5, Berry 4, Villanueva 2, Wright 2, Allen 2.
Simon 14, Satchel 8, Lorenzo 7, Faulks 6, Whyte 6, Reed 4, Thomas 3, Mobley 3, Bass 2, Ford 1.
Pflugerville 10 8 2 11—31
Ellison 14 10 19 9—54
3-Point Goals— Pflugerville 3 (Holmes 2, Derby), Ellison 6 (Simon 2, Faulks 2, Thomas, Lorenzo). Free Throws—Pflugerville 4-10, Ellison 6-9. Fouled Out—None. Total Fouls—Pflugerville 7, Ellison 12. Technicals—None.
Records—Pflugerville 3-6, Ellison 7-3.
- Belton 84, Burnet 49
- No. 7 Ellison 70, Waco University 60
- Killeen 58, Pflugerville Connally 34
- Lampasas 62, Bandera 56, OT
- No. 22 Cibolo Steele 63, Harker Heights 57
- Ellison 54, Pflugerville 31
- Lampasas 73, Elgin 45
- Salado 55, Little River-Academy 44