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Bryan's offense sputters in 50-37 loss to Killeen Ellison

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The Bryan boys basketball team was missing guards, which led to missed chances and missed shots as the Killeen Ellison Eagles gutted out a 50-37 District 12-6A victory at Viking Gym on Tuesday night.

Bryan trailed for much of the defensive-oriented first half but tied the game at 26 on its first possession of the second half as Sam Esan Jr. scored off an offensive rebound. Killeen Ellison’s Khris Wilkerson answered with a 3-pointer, igniting a 15-2 run that put the Eagles (12-12, 3-3) in control. The run was punctuated by an alley-oop dunk by Jamyron Keller, who was fouled and completed the three-point play for a 41-28 lead. Keller also added a dunk off a steal and had eight of his team’s 15 points in the quarter

Thanks to Keller, a 6-foot-2 point guard and reigning 12-6A MVP, the Eagles hit 6 of 12 field goals in the third quarter. Bryan (18-7, 3-3) made only 3 of 14 with two of the baskets coming off offensive rebounds. The Vikings also had seven turnovers.

“Credit to them, they do a good job of pressuring the ball,” Bryan coach Jonathan Hines said. “We struggled a little bit handling that pressure.”

Bryan was without veteran guards Seandre Collins and Taylan Johnson, who were ill.

“Our problem offensively really was the consistency of our team roster,” Hines said. “We were missing two guards today that play major minutes. It kind of disrupted our rhythm a little bit, and we weren’t able to execute some of our stuff.”

As bad as Bryan’s offense was in the third quarter, the Vikings had a chance because of their defense and offensive rebounding. Keeton Scott hit a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter, and Malcom Gooden scored off the fastbreak to pull Bryan within 41-35. But the Eagles closed the game with a 9-2 run, getting a trio of easy baskets off bad Viking passes and got a huge break when 6-7 Esan cramped on a breakaway.

“I’m pleased with the score. I asked the guys to keep it in the 40s,” Hines said. “If we’d keep it in the 40s, we had a chance. We almost got there. We turned the ball over too much and gave them runouts.”

Hines thought his guards played as well as could be expected considering the circumstances.

“I’m happy with their production,” Hines said. “But our team chemistry was different.”

The first half was a defensive struggle with both teams pressuring the ball and overplaying the passing lanes. Ellison eventually did a better job of getting the ball inside, while its defense held Bryan to its least points this season.

“It was tough to get them the ball, just because of the way they collapsed off our guards,” said Hines, who added that he hasn’t had the same roster available in back-to-back games since mid-December.

Keller gave his team a huge edge by hitting 8 of 14 shots in scoring 20 points.

Bryan had eight players score with Darius Brooks leading the way with eight points.

Killeen Ellison 50, Bryan 37

Numbers after name are field goals made-attempted; free throws made-attempted, rebounds, fouls and points

ELLISON (12-12, 3-3 in 12-6A) — Ja’darius Murphy 1-2 0-0 4 2 2; Jamyron Keller 8-14 3-5 4 1 20; Kesean Garland 1-4 2-3 1 0 4; Khris Wilkerson 3-7 0-0 1 0 7; Ademola Oladipo 1-4 0-2 5 4 2; Ahziel McIver 1-2 0-0 2 3 2; Jeremiah Jones 0-1 0-0 0 1 0; Elijah Smith 2-3 0-0 1 1 5; D. Wilson 3-4 0-0 0 0 6; Deric Jones 1-1 0-0 2 1 2. Totals: 21-41 5-10 20 13 50.

BRYAN (18-7, 3-3) — Keeton Scott 1-1 0-0 0 0 3; Sam Esan 1-3 2-2 5 2 4; Andrew Ealoms 1-1 2-2 1 2 4; Malcom Gooden 2-7 2-2 2 1 6; Darius Brooks 4-12 0-0 5 0 8; Chris Maxey 2-7 0-0 5 2 4; Derek Ramsey 1-3 0-0 0 2 3; Nic Caraway 2-5 1-2 2 2 5. TOTALS: 14-39 7-8 20 11 37.

Ellison 10 16 15 9 - 50

Bryan 8 10 6 7 - 37

Turnovers: Bryan 21 for 18 Ellison points; Ellison 13 for 6 Bryan points

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