Javon Walker was not hesitant to shoot, and his coach did not want him to be.
Ellison’s senior guard attempted six of his team’s 14 first-quarter field goals, including four of the Eagles’ five 3-pointers. More importantly, he was connecting.
Walker made four of eight 3-point attempts in the first half, and the fast start carried forward as he hit a critical shot late, propelling No. 14 Ellison to a 74-55 victory against visiting Bryan.
Following the win, Walker, who finished with a team-high 21 points, admitted it was a special showing.
“Shooting is what I do best,” he said, “and knowing my coach gives me the green light to do it feels good.
“It’s really due to the help of my teammates, who are moving the ball, getting me to open spots and getting me the shots I like to take. I was just feeling really confident tonight.”
Walker made a pair of 3-pointers in each of the first two quarters, allowing the Eagles to create a 14-point advantage, 40-26, by halftime.
And while Walker took 10 of his team’s first 29 shots, Ellison head coach Alberto Jones Jr. has no issue with the volume.
“Some times he will get hesitant and not shoot,” Jones said. “So, we figure if we can get him to shoot like crazy, then we can always rein him in later if we need to.
“I’d rather have to tell him to slow down then tell him to shoot it, because he shoots pretty good and most are good shots.”
The Eagles never trailed in the contest, immediately creating an 11-4 advantage before widening the gap to 21-8 by the conclusion of the first period. Then, with Walker accounting for eight points in the quarter, Ellison (18-1, 5-1 District 12-6A) inflated the cushion, creating an 18-point lead at 40-22.
But the outburst ended there.
The Vikings scored seven consecutive points in a run spanning halftime and outscored the Eagles 17-10 in the third quarter before pulling within five points, 50-45, moments into the fourth quarter.
“They got within striking distance before halftime,” Jones said. “Then, we came out with no energy in the third quarter and were just sleepwalking.
“Nobody was making any shots, but then Javon hit a big 3-pointer, and that got us going again.”
Senior point guard Jayce Wright, who recorded a game-high five assists, found Walker for a 3-pointer to drop Bryan (13-4, 3-3) into a double-digit deficit, 55-45, with 5 minutes, 15 seconds remaining in regulation, and the Eagles never slowed down.
Ellison closed the contest with a 24-10 surge, including runs of 10 and eight unanswered points.
“Everything just kind of clicked in our heads,” Walker said, “and we knew that we had to go.”
Walker made five of 14 3-point attempts in the win, but he had plenty of assistance with three teammates scoring at least a dozen points.
Wright accounted for seven of his 15 points in the final period, when sophomore Jamyron Keller scored six of his 12 points to go with three assists, two rebounds and two steals. Additionally, senior guard Trendon Stewart posted a 12-point, 10 rebound double-double along with three blocks, three assists and a pair of steals.
Bryan senior forward Rodney Johnson Jr. led all scorers with 25 points. He also had 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks in the loss.
With the victory, the Eagles maintain a share of the district lead, situated in a three-way tie for first place with Harker Heights and Belton. Ellison concludes the first round of district play Tuesday, hosting Temple, and Walker intends to see the Eagles improve before the postseason arrives.
“We are playing well right now,” Walker said, “but I know we are better.
“We have a lot of potential that we are not showing.”
NO. 14 ELLISON 74, BRYAN 55
Johnson Jr. 25, Glover 17, Caldwell 8, Johnson 3, Caraway 2.
Walker 21, Wright 15, Keller 12, Stewart 12, Tutein 6, Garland 4, Thomas 2, Wilkerson 2.
Bryan 8 18 17 12—55
Ellison 21 19 10 24—74
3-Point Goals – Bryan 8 (Glover 5, Caldwell 2, Johnson), Ellison 6 (Walker 5, Keller). Free Throws – Bryan 3-5, Ellison 4-7. Fouled Out – None. Total Fouls – Bryan 7, Ellison 8. Technicals – None.
Records – Bryan 13-4, 3-3 District 12-A; Ellison 18-1, 5-1.
- Belton 78, Shoemaker 68
- No. 14 Ellison 74, Bryan 55
- Harker Heights 71, Copperas Cove 57
- Temple 51, Killeen 45