When the ball is tipped in the Harker Heights and Ellison gyms tonight, the two hosts — the Knights and Lady Eagles — have a golden opportunity in front of them.

As two of the hottest teams around, both Heights and Ellison can clinch the outright boys and girls District 12-5A title with a win against A&M Consolidated and Temple, respectively. “The past couple of years (reaching the playoffs) was dependent of other people,” Ellison coach Sherry McKinnon said. “Now, we’re in the driver’s seat. ... What we do as a team is what’s going to count.”

The ninth-ranked Knights (25-3, 10-0) haven’t won a district title since 2006, when Matt Addison and Walt Harris led Heights to a school-record 30 wins en route to a regional semifinal appearance.

For the Lady Eagles (26-2, 10-2), the last time the Ellison girls finished atop the district standings was their co-champ season in 2001.

Prior to that, McKinnon hasn’t been able to find if Ellison has ever had outright control of a district title, making tonight’s game all the more special.

“We weren’t picked to win it, so to have done as well as they have, ... it would be really huge for the girls and for Ellison,” McKinnon said.

Since their last loss — a 47-36 defeat at Temple on the same day the entire team attended the funeral of the mother of sophomore guard Deja Pointer — Ellison has been practically unstoppable. Over their six game win streak, the Lady Eagles have won by an average of 12 points — including a 23-point victory over Belton on Monday.

The Knights have been even more impressive, pounding every team they’ve played in district, winning nine of the 10 games by the average of 10.8 points. The lone close game was a 63-61 road victory over A&M Consolidated.

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