WACO — Ellison head coach Alberto Jones Jr. admitted that when you play DeSoto, you have to bring your ‘A’ game for four quarters and not let up.
His team did just that Tuesday night, as Ellison upended defending 6A state champion DeSoto 53-41 in the first round at McLennan Community College.
“It took a total team-effort tonight to beat these guys,” Jones Jr. said. “We had to have determination and guts to play like we did tonight, and what an unbelievable effort by my guys tonight.”
“From the top guy to the bottom guy, everyone contributed to this win tonight.”
Ellison moves on to face Plano West — which defeated Lewisville Hebron 61-58 — later this week at a time and location to be determined.
Dajuan Jones and Casey Armour had their way inside the paint, as DeSoto simply had no answer for the duo. Jones finished with a game-high 20 points, while
Armour helped with 15 points, seven rebounds and a block.
Ellison (26-7) never trailed in the contest, as the Eagles limited DeSoto to only two first-quarter points.
The Eagles jumped on the reigning champions as soon as the ball was in the air. Jones connected on a corner 3-pointer with 5 minutes left in the opening quarter to give Ellison a quick 8-0 lead.
DeSoto (22-10) didn’t score its first points of the game until 3:40 remained in the first quarter.
After one quarter, Ellison had a quick 8-2 lead.
Ellison held a four-point advantage at 18-14 going into halftime, and in the second half Ellison did not let up.
The Ellison defensive pressure caused havoc on DeSoto all game long as it committed 11 turnovers throughout the game. Jones led with three steals for Ellison.
“It took guts tonight. I am so proud of my team. We knew who we were facing, we knew they cut down the nets last year, and to be able to beat them in the first round says a lot about the group we have,” Dajuan Jones said.
DeSoto kept inching closer and narrowed the deficit to 46-41 with 1:16 left in the game, but as usual, Ellison finished the game strong from the line.
Josh Childs knocked down a pair of free throws with 49 seconds left in regulation to give Ellison a 48-41 lead and help preserve the victory.
For the game, Ellison hit 14 of 21 free throws, while DeSoto went 10-of-14.
Senior guard Mike Aranda helped with seven points, including going four of four from the line in the final quarter.
Elijah Moleon contributed with four points and seven boards, while Ronald Williams helped with three.
Coach Jones admitted that he will enjoy the victory, but knows his team must turn its attention to the next game.
“When we get home, my whole focus will be on Plano West. We just have to take it one game at a time.
“Really our whole focus is now Plano West.
“We played them earlier this season in a tournament, and they beat us. If we are fortunate enough to get by them, we will worry about that later, but this time of the year you cannot look ahead or you will be going home,” he said.