By Nick Talbot
Killeen Daily Herald
Alisha Jones knew they were coming for her.
With her Ellison Eagles desperately holding onto a 49-48 lead, Jones knew she was not only going to get fouled right off the inbound pass, but she also had to make both free throws.
The shots barely even hit the net. Jones' shots were that perfect.
Harker Heights' last-second 3-pointer wasn't.
The Lady Knights were left with only eight seconds to win or tie the game and Shanice Davis' shot rolled off the rim as the Eagles held on for a 51-48 win Tuesday at Ellison High.
"We knew they were going to foul us at the end so coach (Sherry McKinnon) told me to have it in my hands or get it to Desiree (Wylie)," Jones said.
"...I knew I had to put them in because we were only up by one. A three-point game gave us more of a cushion."
Early on and late, Ellison's offensive rebounding dictated the game.
The Lady Eagles (20-5, 4-2 District 12-5A) out-rebounded Harker Heights Heights (13-12, 3-3) 39-19, with both Wylie and Jolissa Williams reaching double digits with 13 and 12 respectively.
"That is what we do. But, I am real concerned about our shooting though," McKinnon said. "We are getting the offensive rebound and getting the shot we want, but they are not going in. Our missed shots (let them) back in the game.
"We are going to correct that situation."
It was not a problem early. Wylie scored seven of the Eagles' first 11 points as they jumped out to an 11-4 lead.
"We worked really hard on rebounds today," Wylie said. "At the beginning of the game we knew if we let them get second-chance opportunities they were going to score."
McKinnon's concerns came to fruition late in the second quarter.
Heights' Rae'Vaughn Barnes hit a 3-pointer and Brianna Golden hit two quick shots and the Lady Knights took a two-point lead going into the second quarter.
Wylie, who scored a game-high 23 points, took over again.
The senior scored seven points in an 11-0 run by the Eagles in the first three minutes of the second quarter.
But, Heights refused to go away.
Every time Ellison made a run, the Lady Knights responded. Sara Anderson hit a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left in the half to pull the Lady Knights within 28-26.
In the third, Ellison made another run.
Williams converted a three-point play and Jones drove down the lane for a hard-contested basket to give the Eagles a nine-point lead after three quarters.
Again, the pesky Heights team came back. The Lady Knights held Ellison without a field goal for the first six minutes of the fourth quarter.
Wylie broke the drought with a strong post move and tacked on two more free throws to push the Ellison lead to 49-46.
"I guess you could say we ran out of a little bit of gas," she said. "We kicked it back in so we could win this game."
But, a Davis 3-pointer again pulled Heights back from the dead.
The sophomore just could not do it twice.
"We had four shooters in the game that could nail that shot," said Harker Heights coach Shirretha Nelson. "We were trying to get the ball in their hands, but also wanted to create some separation.
"I think we dribbled a little bit too much, trying to make something happen. We just did not execute it the way we wanted too."