Cruisin' with Mercedes
Nov. 19, 2012 at 5:19 a.m.
For Mercedes Ellison, the time to watch and learn on the Victoria West girls basketball team is over.
Ellison was not only the lone freshman on the Warriors roster last season, but she was among the starting five with more experienced players.
In the early portion of this season, she has taken her game to a new level and given the Warriors a second offensive option in the post.
"I was so nervous last year being the only freshman," Ellison said. "This year I just had to step it up. We lost a few seniors and it was my time to go."
Ellison scored 10 points to help West (8-2) win its home opener against the Corpus Christi Moody Lady Trojans (3-6) 64-46 on Monday.
Senior post Treka Franklin led West with 18 points while freshman post Kynsey Clark and junior point guard Lauren Rodriguez also scored in double figures.
West may have slipped in the District 30-4A standings last year and finished out of the playoffs, but Ellison took the time in the offseason to work on her offensive game.
Ellison knew coming in she and Franklin would have to run things for the Warriors in the post and thus far, the hard work has paid off.
"It's easy for me to make passes to her and then she can finish those easy baby shots when she gets into those gaps," Franklin said.
Ellison is averaging 13 points this season. Through the early part of the season, she and Franklin have combined to be a good duo in the post.
"Treka and I have a very good connection," Ellison said "When she gets the ball, I cut and just move. It's about movement and finding whoever's open."
"The defenses have to adjust knowing that if they stay too much on Treka, that's going to leave somebody else wide open underneath," added West coach Sandra Jimenez.
West's one-two punch helped turn what was a competitive game through the first 24 minutes, into an easy win.
It was apparent from the outset that West was going to use it's speed and smaller, more versatile post players to run up and down on Moody and wear the Lady Trojans out.
West scored 14 fast break points to Moody's two and outscored the Lady Trojans 21-10 in the fourth quarter.
"I don't think that it was until the end of the third or early in the fourth that we finally wore them down," Jimenez said.
The Warriors made the halftime adjustments necessary to control the paint in the final 16 minutes.
Moody post Adrienne Nickleson was the team's leading scorer at halftime with 10 points. She scored two the rest of the game.
After being out rebounded by Moody in the first half 14-9, West dominated the boards with a 17-4 margin in the second half.
West took a 43-36 lead into the fourth quarter and an Ellison bucket in the paint sparked a 11-4 Warrior run midway through the final frame.
Ellison capped the run with a put back of a missed shot by Clark. The second chance basket gave West a 14-point lead with 3:29 remaining and put the game out of reach for Moody.
The Warriors overcame a sloppy offensive start in which they made 29 percent of their shots (7-for-29) in a game that had an unusual 12:30 p.m. start due to the Thanksgiving break.
"They could be thinking about their turkey dinner already, but I think it had more to do with them playing five games in the Ford Bend Tournament in a matter of three days," Jimenez said.
The Warriors go for their eighth win of the season on Tuesday when they travel to El Campo.