A dozen seniors were honored during wins for both the Prosper boys and girls basketball teams, making for an emotional senior night at home on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
Prosper 70, Lake Dallas 42
The girls took the court first for an impressive win over Lake Dallas in their final regular season game of the season.
The Lady Eagles built a 37-20 lead by halftime and cruised from that point on. The seniors fittingly stepped up in their last career home game, including Bailey Lightfoot, who led all scorers with 16 points and four 3-pointers.
“To win like that and send the seniors out the right way is fun,” coach Trey Rachal said.
Each senior got at least 10 minutes of playing time and all but one put points on the board. The group of six were honored during halftime of the boys game, receiving gift baskets and plenty of hugs from parents, friends and teammates.
“This is my first four-year group,” Rachal said. “It’s real special to see them grow up and the growth of the program with them.”
The Prosper girls finished the regular season with a 23-9 record and went 11-3 against district opponents. Their first game comes against Frisco Wakeland at Plano Senior High School on Monday, Feb. 13.
Rachal said his team is primed for another playoff run. Last season, they made it all the way to the regional semifinals, just two wins away from a chance at a state championship.
“I think the intensity will pick up in the next week,” Rachal said. “We’re trying to refine little things at the very end of the season right here. Hopefully we’re there.”
Prosper 59, Lake Dallas 48
The Prosper boys followed with a win of their own to clinch a playoff spot and extend their winning streak to six games.
The game was closely contested in the first half, as Prosper headed into halftime with a two-point lead. However, they came out firing in the third quarter, outscoring Lake Dallas 19-7. Their run was largely thanks to junior Kyle Jessen, who hit a trio of threes to give the offense a boost.
“He hadn’t done it in a few games,” coach Jonathan Ellis said. “It always helps. It just makes your team feel better.”
Ellis has taken pride in his team’s youth all season and didn’t stray away from his usual player rotation. Junior Zach Wrightsil led the team with 17 points, Jessen had 11 and sophomore Josh Davis added 9.
Still, seniors stepped up and had moments that got the bench and crowd on their feet. Colton Gillespie and Maurice Landers both entered the game in the final minute and had opportunities to shine.
Gillespie got to the free-throw line and made both of his attempts. Landers missed his only free throw, but hustled for the rebound and put it back up for a layup.
Ellis said he’s thankful for the way his senior group has embraced their individual roles on the team. The fifth-year coach has known most of them since they were in eighth grade, and some of them attended the first basketball camp he ever hosted at Reynolds Middle School.
“The biggest thing I get from this group is their infectious smiles,” Ellis said. “They have great personalities, high-character kids. Their parents have raised them really well.”