By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
As one of just three seniors, Felix Marbury has no interest in being responsible for allowing the Eagles' 17-year playoff tradition to run dry.
"I just wanted to win, so I had to come out and show them leadership and an example how to play and get them going," Marbury said.
Sparking his team both on the court and off, Marbury scored a season-high 17 points - including 9 in the first quarter - and gave a rousing halftime speech that propelled Ellison to 65-62 come-from-behind victory over Copperas Cove in the District 12-5A opener for both schools Tuesday at Eagles Gym.
"He's the heart and soul of the team," Ellison coach Alberto Jones said of Marbury. "He challenged (his teammates) at halftime, and they rose to the occasion."
In what is expected to be a wide-open district race this season, with six teams fighting for one of the four playoff spots, the Eagles (9-7, 1-0 12-5A) rallied in the second half, tying it late in the third before icing the victory by hitting their final six free throws. Trailing by as much as nine late in the first half, after Bulldawgs (8-6, 0-1) shooter Cory Scott dropped 20 of his game-high 25 in the first 16 minutes, Ellison's defense answered Marbury's challenge, limiting Scott to just 2-of-11 shooting in the second half.
"I just think he has to stay aggressive the entire game," Cove coach Billy White said of Scott.
And without their big 3-point threat, Cove's quick-strike attack lagged to just 22 second-half points, nearly half of its first half output (40).