Eagles, Grey Wolves Take First Step in Basketball Playoffs

Ellison's Kris WhiteThe Ellison Eagles looked like their familiar playoff-tested selves extending their win streak to 12 games in a Class 5A bi-district clash Tuesday, easily toppling the Brenham Cubs 82-50 at Rockdale High School gym.


The District 22-5A back-to-back champions move to 30-5 overall, heading into an area matchup against Pflugerville Hendrickson.


Starting strong and never letting up, the Eagles looked like a team planning a deep playoff run.


Ellison (30-5) was in control from the start against Brenham (24-10), the fourth-place team from District 21-5A.


Not far up the road, the Shoemaker Grey Wolves (28-8) also scored a first-round victory, overcoming College Station A&M Consolidated 75-70 in their bi-district game at Hearne High School.


Shoemaker head coach Karron Taylor, whose team trailed 20-18 after the first quarter, led 41-38 at halftime and held on down the stretch of the fourth quarter, praised his team’s strong effort, moving to the second round with a five-point victory.


“Great team effort," Taylor said. "We were able to play 10 players to help contribute to the victory. Very proud of the guys persevering through the adversity in the moment of truth.”


Jaymes Brown-Peterson poured in 20 points for Shoemaker, with Anthony “DJ” Moore scoring 16, Da’Rayvion Starling 11 and Gregory Dumas 10.


The Grey Wolves face Bastrop Cedar Creek at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Taylor in the area round. Ellison is paired with Pflugerville Hendrickson at 7 p.m. Friday at Marble Falls.

Eagles' Sonny Parker


At Rockdale, Ellison took a 17-10 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 40-21 advantage into halftime.


In the third quarter, the Eagles’ scoring machine continued, building a 65-32 lead by the end of the third quarter and prompting head coach Alberto Jones to begin rotating in his reserves.


With his starters sitting out the fourth quarter, Ellison continued to hold steady to close out the 32-point victory.


Jones acknowledged his returners are aching to return to the state tournament, where they lost a year ago in the state championship.


That road, he said, continues one win at a time.


“There is no substitute for (playoff experience),” the Ellison coach said. “For (the returners), their mentality is probably so much different than most kids’ mentality this time of year. Our top guys set the table and our bench guys came in and gave us what we needed.”


Sophomore Sean Parks, junior Ahziel “JoJo” McIver and senior Kris White were part of last year’s Ellison team that made it to the finals at the Alamodome, falling to Dallas Kimball in the championship game.


“The three guys want to go back to state, and the other guys want to get there,” he said. “We have a one-goal mentality – that game that is in front of us. Our one goal was winning tonight and now our one goal is to win Friday.”


The lopsided bi-district victory is testimony to the strength of District 22-5A, which included four state-ranked teams through much of the season.

Shoemaker coach TaylorShoemaker bi-district victory


“No doubt about it,” Jones said of the strength of the league that includes Belton, University and Shoemaker. All four won bi-district games Tuesday. “We have a gauntlet of a district. That definitely prepares us.”


Even with limited minutes, Ellison starter Kris White scored 18 points to lead the Eagles and McIver and Nasaun Parker tallied 14 apiece.


Marneko Thomas contributed 11, Sean Parks six, Darone Leakes, Jay-quan Gaines and Shaheim Bouges four and Prince Hall, Jamaal Jenkins and Elijah Bass two.


Shoemaker game photos by Josh Weaver