Sherry McKinnon didn’t want to see another shot, or missed shot for that matter.
“I was wanting that clock to run in that fourth quarter,” McKinnon said. “I wanted that buzzer to ring. With two minutes to go (I was thinking), ‘We just need to get out of here with a win and let’s regroup.’”
In a game where sloppy turnovers, missed shots and poorly executed plays seemed more prevalent than points, the Ellison girls basketball coach got her wish as her 17th-ranked Lady Eagles outscored rival Killeen 26-14 in the second half and escaped with a 46-31 home win Tuesday.
“It felt kind of scrappy, kind of like we were playing a pickup game,” Lady Eagles senior guard Deja Pointer said. “We just weren’t our normal selves, but I guess it came together at the end to produce the win.”
Both teams were scoreless for three minutes and 45 seconds in the third quarter, when they combined for 12 turnovers while going 0-for-12 from the field.
“The problem was the forcing of the passes, just let the play develop and we don’t do that — we were rushing, just rush, rush, rush,” Killeen coach Latisha Williams said. “We don’t have a 30 second shot clock — just wait, let it develop. We didn’t make them play defense long enough.”
That is until Pointer — who to that point was 0-of-6 from the floor for the game — leaned back to avoid the hand of Lady Roos post Jolhicia Williams and drained a 25-foot 3-pointer with 55.9 seconds left in the third to put Ellison (24-3, 5-1 8-5A) ahead 27-18.
Fouled after the shot, Pointer inbounded the ball on the ensuing possession, got it back and then sliced her way into the lane for a layup less than 10 seconds later to give the Lady Eagles their first double-digit lead, 29-18.
“I kind of surprised myself with it,” she said with a laugh, “but it was crunch time and I had to get something going, so I went for it and it turned out in my favor,” Pointer said.
Killeen guard Raven King sank a pair of free throws with 17.5 seconds left to cut Ellison’s lead to 29-20 at the end of the third quarter. But Killeen was 0-of-11 from the floor in the frame.
“We scored three points in the third quarter,” Latisha Williams said. “Offensively, we were just not good.”
Killeen forward Jasmine Goodwine led Killeen (14-9, 4-2) with 12 points, eight rebounds, five blocks and two steals while Johlicia Williams added seven points and 12 rebounds, as the pair combined for 20 of Killeen’s 29 total boards.
Pointer led Ellison with 10 points, all in the second half. In the fourth quarter, Ellison began scoring off those transition turnovers — the teams combined for 56 — with Pointer sinking a 3-pointer from the top of the key after a steal by Chris Jones. Kenesha Saygo followed with a left-handed layup to cap a 7-0 run with 4:40 left in the game.