Ellison head coach Sherry McKinnon knew her team would have to play lights out Friday night to upset one of the best teams in Class 6A, one which had one of the best players in the state in Barbara Benson.
Her team delivered one of their best games of the season, defeating No. 8 Waco Midway 56-46 behind Madison Hattix-Covington’s game-high 23 points.
Benson was held to just nine points, on only two made field goals.
“Benson and DaJia Davis were big on my radar when we watched film on Midway earlier this week,” McKinnon said. “We threw a lot of defenses at them and I was proud of the way the girls were able to get stops and keep them off the glass.”
In the first half, neither team seemed to give in as the largest lead was just five points, which Midway (11-3) held 10-5 late in the opening quarter.
Ellison (13-3) took the lead in the second quarter when Hattix-Covington’s lay-in gave the Lady Eagles a 15-14 advantage.
Ellison went into halftime up 26-24.
McKinnon gave her group a pep talk during halftime, and it showed.
The Lady Eagles started the second half on a 6-0 run that proved to be
the difference, as Ellison led for the entire second half.
“I think my girls made a decision in the locker room that they weren’t going to lose this game. I told them that we needed to win that third quarter. When Gemma Alhambra got us a steal during that run, that really gave us a spark,” McKinnon said.
Aujunnae Smith’s floater in the paint gave Ellison an eight-point lead nearly three minutes into the third quarter.
The Pantherettes fought back and narrowed the deficit to 41-39 one minute into the fourth, but the Lady Eagles did not seemed bothered.
In the fourth quarter, Ellison went 16-of-18 on free throws, including Hattix-Covington going 7 of 8 from the line to seal the upset for the home team.
“Madison did an outstanding job for us tonight,” McKinnon said. “She’s such a smart player because she sees those gaps between the defense. I believe she played the whole fourth quarter without a break, so that tells you how much of an asset she is to our team.”
Nine different Lady Eagles scored in the contest. La’Praisjah Johnson finished with seven points. Marliah Johnson and Smith each contributed six points.
Elise Tate led Midway with 11 points.
“Ellison played great defense tonight, and held us to 46 points,” Midway coach Ben Holder said. “We made some shots there in the first half, but they didn’t seem to fall for us there in the second half.
The Lady Eagles return to action Tuesday on the road at San Angelo Central.