Sherry McKinnon called sophomore guard Deja Pointer her secret weapon.
Well, the secret's out, McKinnon admitted Friday after the 23rd-ranked Lady Eagles' 43-23 win over Marble Falls.
Pointer, though, isn't the Lady Eagles' only secret. After the win, Ellison's bench isn't much of a secret either.
The Lady Eagle starters didn't start, though they did play sparingly, but McKinnon rotated all 13 players, throwing body after body at Marble Falls and its eight-person roster.
"I'm still looking for the roles these kids want to play, what they're going to play, what they can do and in what situations I can put them in," McKinnon said of her bench. "Right before district, to be able to play all the kids and, hopefully, build up some confidence in some that maybe haven't been getting as big of minutes, it's going to be huge throughout the district play."
Ellison (13-3), which opens its 12-5A schedule on Tuesday at home against Bryan, had 11 different players score, led by Pointer's 10.
Pointer scored eight as part of a 9-0 Ellison run in the second quarter, helping it capitalize on six Lady Mustangs' turnovers in seven possessions.
The Lady Eagles forced 24 turnovers, including 11 in the second quarter to break an 11-11 tie. Ellison forced seven more in the fourth quarter, where it held Marble Falls to three points on 1-of-6 shooting.
The Lady Mustangs (6-11) didn't score more than seven points any quarter and didn't have a single player score more than Kiara Etheridge's team-high seven.
"We turned the ball over too much," said Marble Falls coach Stephanie Gamble. "I felt like we did a pretty decent job defensively and offensively, we got the looks that we wanted we got some dribble drives and some easy layup opportunities but we turned the ball over 20 times and you're not going to beat a lot of people doing that."
The two offenses started patiently, grinding out 13 total points on less than 20 combined shots. Shanelia Williams' three-point play with 2;20 left in the period gave Ellison a 7-6 lead starting the second quarter.
Back-to-back layups by Sarah Stripling tied the game at 11 in the second quarter but Marble Falls' plague of turnovers allowed Pointer and the Lady Eagles a chance to separate themselves. Pointer hit two 3-pointers and scored on a fastbreak layup that give Ellison a 20-11 lead with 1:49 left in the second.
"Deja's a good player, she's going to be a great player," McKinnon said. "For a sophomore, she just has so much to her game, one of the best outside shooters that I have. ... She's my secret weapon and now it's out."
Ellison led 22-13 at halftime and 27-14 after Curtis Kanietra's 3-pointer with 5:09 left in the third.
Haley Stephens' layup with 1:52 left in the period cut the lead to seven, 27-20, but the Lady Mustangs turned the ball over three times on their final four possessions, allowing Ellison to pull away again.
"Tonight, I'd like to have scored more, but I needed to play kids," McKinnon said. "I needed to play a lot of kids tonight in equal minutes. My normal starters didn't start and didn't play as many minutes as they're going to be playing, have to play. "It was a win-win situation for us."
Contact Kevin Posival at email@example.com or (254) 501-7562.