The Eagles may have clinched a playoff spot Tuesday, but they have no intention of slowing down anytime soon.
“We’re really trying to focus on each game like it’s a playoff game,” said Shamir Bogues. “We’re trying to get ready for the playoff run coming up, so we’re taking it serious and playing each game like it’s a playoff game.”
The junior guard posted 25 points as Ellison took an 81-56 win over Killeen on Friday night at home, but it was a team effort across the board.
“You like to see the guys progress and get better at the things we’ve been working at,” said Eagles assistant coach Chris Collins. “We still have work to do — there’s always work to do — but it gives you a little bit of confidence going forward.”
With a bye Tuesday, Ellison has two games left in the regular season for any final tune-ups and to prepare for a long playoff run.
Last season, the Eagles ended the season 32-5 overall after posting a 12-2 District 8-6A record and were eliminated with a 65-54 loss to No. 10 Allen in the regional quarterfinals.
Three players returned from that Ellison team — Bogues and seniors Amir Davis and Chandler Sutton.
Davis and Sutton each posted 12 points for Ellison on Friday night while sophomore guard Trendon Stewart added 11 while junior Nehemiah Nuckolls ended the night with nine points.
“It’s huge to have that experience of how to prepare for a playoff game,” Collins said. “They know what they’re going into.”
The three returning varsity members are using that experience to help their fellow Eagles keep their eyes on the prize — a state championship.
“We help them stay focused and not have too many turnovers,” Bogues said. “And on a missed called, we try to have them not worry about it because I know in the playoffs they’re going to call a technical real quick.
“We just try to keep them focused on that playoff mindset right now.”
The Ellison junior looks forward to facing a familiar face to close out district play.
“My friend, Quinton Ford, I play him in AAU a lot,” Bogues said of the Copperas Cove senior. “So that matchup is going to be fun.”
The Eagles head to Waco on Friday and will play the final game of the regular season on Feb. 12 at home against Copperas Cove.