BELTON - Ellison is playing and winning the game its way.
The Lady Eagles picked up two more wins Friday and advanced to the semifinals of the Chisholm Trail Classic where they will play Houston Westbury at Belton High at noon today.
Ellison (4-0) struggled early agaisnt LBJ, but came back to win 56-47, and then breezed in Game 2 against Pflugerville Connally, winning 55-32.
Alayshia Hunter got off to a hot start in the post against the Cougars, putting Ellison ahead 7-2 with a three-point play and then pushing the Lady Eagles ahead 19-7 midway through the second quarter.
Outside of Hunter, who had 11 points, Ellison had trouble scoring in the first half. So, it just punished Connally with its defense forcing 12 turnovers.
"We run several different sets on our defense and whatever we throw out there because we are so quick and so aggressive is working," said Ellison coach Sherry McKinnon. "The kids pride themselves in defense. I have sold Lady Eagle defense and they get after it."
In the third, the Lady Eagles' shooters took over.
Deja Pointer hit two 3-pointers and Ocleta Young and Shanil Longwood also hit treys as Ellison pushed its growing lead past 20.
Longwood, who led Ellison with 12 points, hit another 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter and Ellison went up by 30, 53-23, before McKinnon emptied her bench.
"That is great for me as a coach to see because down the line I am going to need those kids to play," McKinnon said. "This was our second ball game today, so it was great to play everyone and rest the starters for tomorrow."
It was not as easy against the Jaguars.
Ellison fell behind 20-11 after the first quarter.
However, McKinnon had opted to start the game without her team using its full-court press. Once, the Lady Eagles made the switch at the end of the first quarter, they turned the table on LBJ.
Ellsion held the Jaguars to nine points in the second quarter and only five points in the third to take a nine-point advantage going into the fourth. Kaneitra Curtis led all scorers with 15 points for the Lady Eagles and Hunter added another 13.
Heights has off day
Harker Heights was outscored by Arlington Bowie 17-11 in the second quarter and lost for the first time this season, 56-51 to Bowie, despite a furious fourth-quarter rally in the second round of the Chisholm Trail Classic at Temple High School.
"It was an off day - a good day for them, a bad day for us," said Harker Heights coach Shirretha Nelson.
The Lady Knights (3-1) were led with 12 points apiece by junior guards Brianna Golden and Shanice Davis, while sophomore guard JaQuan Jackson struggled to find her shot, finishing just 2-for-11 from the floor, including 0-6 from 3-point range.
Trailing 43-31 early in the fourth quarter, Heights pulled within five, 48-43, with a 12-5 run sparked by back-to-back 3s by Bianca Patterson and Golden.
However, Bowie was able to answer at the free-throw line, closing out the game 3-of-6 over the final minute to finish 16-26 from the charity stripe. The loss sent the Lady Knights into the loser's draw, where they had another lackluster performance.
Jackson and Davis were held scoreless in the first half, but Heights still managed to eke out a 45-42 win over Rockwall. Neither team ever gained much of an advantage as they went in tied at the half and Heights only had a one-point lead going into the fourth.
With the offense out of sorts, the defense had to come up big, picking the pocket of the Lady Jackets three times in the final minute. Eboniey Jeter led Heights with 14 points and Freeman added nine.
Heights finishes up the tournament at noon today at Temple High against an opponent to be determined.
Comeback keeps Belton alive
It looked bad for Belton early - really bad.
However, after LBJ's Alexis Hyder went down with an ankle injury two minutes into the third quarter, the Lady Tigers made their move.
They outscored the Jaguars 24-11 after the injury and rallied for the 43-40 win. If they had lost, they would have been eliminated from their own tournament. However, the win lands them in one more game. Belton faces Bryan Rudder at noon today at Belton High's secondary gym.
Down 31-18 at the time of Hyder's injury, Dasia McCray, who finished with a game-high 17 points, scored four straight points for Belton and Jade Hampton hit a 3-pointer to cut the Jaguars lead to single digits.
In the fourth, Meghan Braeuer, scored all eight of her points, including a drive to the basket with less than five seconds left that put Belton up by three.
Braeuer led Belton with 15 points against Pflugerville Connally, but the Lady Tigers still lost 42-36. And like they did later in the day against LBJ, the Lady Tigers fell behind early.
Connally took a 15-7 after the first quarter, but still had to hold on in the fourth quarter after Belton had cut the lead to 29-28 going into the fourth.
Contact Nick Talbot at email@example.com or (254) 501-7569