Trendon Stewart relishes his role.
Last year, as a sophomore, Stewart helped Ellison reach the second round of the playoffs and was placed on the 12-6A All-District Second Team in his debut season. The starting shooting guard was integral to the Eagles’ success, providing almost anything the team needed on either side of the court.
Now, however, Stewart comes off the bench as a reserve, and he loves it.
“I embrace it,” the junior said. “It’s not that big of a change for me, because I know I’m going to get my time on the floor.
“Honestly, I like coming off the bench, and being a spark.”
It showed Tuesday.
Stewart scored 10 of his 15 points during a perfect 4-for-4 showing in the second quarter, propelling Class 6A No. 7 Ellison to a 94-41 victory against visiting Pflugerville Connally.
Along with his offense, Stewart finished with four steals, a pair of rebounds and an assist in the lopsided outcome, and following the win, Eagles head coach Alberto Jones Jr. admitted the fact his standout is embracing the change greatly benefits the team.
“Trendon could probably start on any team in District 12-6A,” he said, “but we like having him come off the bench and using him like a sparkplug. He does a really good job at that, because his energy and intensity are always really high.
“He just wants to win, and he’ll do anything he has to do to help the team win.”
In its highest scoring game of the season and first 90-point outing since beating San Angelo Central 99-53 on Jan. 19, 2018, Ellison recorded the first 13 points against the Cougars. The cushion remained at 25-12 before being trimmed to seven points, 25-18, as Connally connected on consecutive 3-pointers late in the opening period.
But the Cougars would not get any closer.
The Eagles responded with a 49-6 run spanning into the third quarter, including a 21-4 showing in the second quarter, when Stewart was responsible for almost half his team’s points.
Freshman guard Jamyron Keller made all four of his 3-point attempts en route to posting a team-high 18 points in the win, while teammate Shamir Bogues contributed 14 points, four steals, three assists and two steals. Additionally, Matthias Nero had nine points and four assists, Nehemiah Nuckolls tallied eight points, and Deondra Thomas finished with seven points and a game-high seven rebounds for Ellison.
In all, 10 Eagles produced multiple field goals.
“We don’t have just one shooter on this team,” Keller said. “Everybody is a shooter.
“We all put up lots of shots in practice, and it is paying off in the games.”
Ellison (8-1) does not play again until Tuesday, when it travels to face Class 5A No. 7 Manor before opening play at the three-day, 32-team Mansfield ISD Spring Creek Classic. The Eagles play Crowley in the first round and will play either Mansfield Lake Ridge or Decatur in the ensuing round.
With the district schedule beginning Dec. 10, the upcoming holiday break will be Ellison’s only opportunity for rest any time soon, and Jones wants his players to take full advantage.
“We’re coming off a tournament,” he said, “so the kids have played seven games in the last six days. I know they are a little tired.
“So, I just want them to relax for a few days and enjoy their families, and we’ll get back to practice on Friday.”
ELLISON 94, PFL. CONNALLY 41
Pflugerville Connally (41)
Powell 22, Lane 7, Mitchell 5, Thai 3, Bryant 2, Moore 2.
No. 7 Ellison (94)
Keller 18, Stewart 15, Bogues 14, Nero 9, Nuckolls 8, Thomas 7, Wilkerson 7, Dillard 6, Harper 4, Wright 4, Parks 2.
Connally 18 4 6 13—41
Ellison 30 21 27 16—94
3-Point Goals—Connally 4 (Powell 2, Thai, Lane), Ellison 8 (Keller 4, Nero 2, Bogues, Stewart). Free Throws—Connally 11-12, Ellison 14-20. Fouled Out—None. Total Fouls—Connally 15, Ellison 11. Technicals –Stewart.
TUESDAY’S BOYS BASKETBALL
- Belton 44, Elgin 33
- No. 7 Ellison 94, Pflugerville Connally 41
- Gatesville 37, Venus 32
- Glen Rose 68, Lampasas 40
- Harker Heights 52, Waco University 34
- Salado 83, Thrall 35
- Shoemaker 62, Pflugerville Hendrickson 59
TUESDAY’S GIRLS BASKETBALL
- 5A-No. 8 Cedar Park 65, Killeen 38
- Copperas Cove 53, Marble Falls 46
- Harker Heights 57, Allen 52
- Lampasas 63, 3A-No. 22 Luling 39
- 4A-No. 10 Liberty Hill 38, Belton 33
- San Marcos 34, Shoemaker 21
- Florence 50, Johnson City 35