Even the most aggressive defenses have to let off the gas.
The 12th-ranked Ellison Lady Eagles went from their usual full-court defense to a zone late in the third quarter, further stymieing an unproductive Killeen offense, and Deja Pointer hit a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth to give Ellison a season-opening 51-38 win over the 4A No. 23 Lady Roos at home on Tuesday night.
Porter scored eight of her team-high 12 points in the fourth to help the Lady Eagles (1-0) put away a back-and-forth, sloppy affair and win their third straight opener against their crosstown rivals. "The adrenaline was pumping and I wanted to win. It was a must that we needed to accomplish and we got it done," Pointer said. "When we did the 2-3 (zone) that really helped a lot. We shut down their key players and we were able to get the ball and go down and score."
Killeen (0-1) went 0-for-12 from the floor in the final 10 minutes and made just 10 field goals in the entire game. The Lady Roos were 10-of-44 from the field in the game but hit 17 of 28 free throws to keep with the Lady Eagles, 5A regional semifinalists last season.
"They picked up the intensity and we just, I don't know. They hit a couple of 3-pointers in a row because we were having matchup problems and it was over," Killeen coach Latisha Williams said.
Jasmine Goodwine scored 19 points to go along with 13 rebounds and Esha Atkins added 11 points. Ellison senior post Alayshia Hunter scored eight of her nine points in the third, including the Lady Eagles' final go-ahead bucket with 2:13 left in the period.
A Goodwine layup gave Killeen a 34-33 lead with 2:25 remaining in the third, but Hunter's answer gave Ellison its final lead as the Lady Roos scored their final four points from the free-throw line.
"Unfortunately, we had to resort to zone to get our legs back under us a little bit, but one thing we usually don't do well here at Ellison when we go to a zone is rebounding," Ellison coach Sherry McKinnon said.
Ellison outrebounded Killeen 38-27, grabbing more boards than the Lady Roos in every quarter but the third, when Killeen had a 12-9 advantage and rallied from its 25-20 halftime deficit.
The Lady Eagles finished the third quarter on a 6-1 run to take a 39-35 lead into the fourth quarter, and when Pointer's eight-point burst in a span of just 75 seconds was over, the Lady Eagles led 49-36 with 5:24 left.
"Deja, as I said at the beginning of the season, is going to be really special," McKinnon said. "She's going to be a very good player and her hitting those 3s ... she just stepped up to the plate."
Ellison hit three of its six 3-pointers in the first quarter to take a 15-11, but Goodwine trimmed that to 20-19 in the second with the second of her three three-point plays in the game. Pointer and Taneiqua Malden gave Ellison its five-point halftime lead with back-to-back steals and fast break layups. Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562.