The Prosper boys basketball team pulled off arguably its most impressive win of the season, defeating district rival Little Elm 56-39 on the road on Friday, Feb. 9.
The crowd was electric in what was a playoff atmosphere at Little Elm. Prosper was able to maintain a slim lead throughout and later pulled away in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Lobos 18-5 in the final eight minutes.
I thought our guys did our job, doing what we do,” Prosper head coach Jonathan Ellis said. “We didn’t change much. We are who we are.”
Senior forward Zach Wrightsil flashed his full skillset on both ends of the floor, leading all scorers with 27 points. The Loyola-New Orleans commit also added 14 rebounds, including eight offensive boards.
“I loved how aggressive he was going to the goal,” Ellis said. “Last game, he settled for too many jump shots. His forte is in the paint, going to the rim and finishing. He was a beast.”
As Wrightsil continued to drive to the basket offensively, his teammates found open lanes and opportunities to score. Junior guard Josh Davis got going in the fourth quarter, scoring nine of his 11 points in the frame. Davis made big contributions in other areas as well, finishing with 12 rebounds and seven assists.
As expected, slowing down Little Elm sophomore RJ Hampton was the key for Prosper’s success. Hampton, ranked as the No. 2 recruit in the nation in ESPN’s class of 2020 rankings, finished with 21 points on 7-for-22 shooting from the field. Prosper made him work extremely hard for each shot, forcing the sophomore into contested jumpers. Hampton is averaging more than 30 points per game this season.
“It wasn’t easy,” Ellis said. “We contested [Hampton’s] shots as much as we could. They are incredible and have an amazing player.”
It was the third time the two foes played each other this season. Prosper won the first one, a non-district game in the championship round of the Prosper ISD tournament in December. Little Elm came back to win 54-52 in the first district matchup at Prosper Arena in January.
Little Elm was ranked No. 5 in the 5A state rankings while Prosper sat at No. 6 heading into the game. The win puts Prosper and Little Elm in a tie for first place in the District 14-5A standings, each with just one loss against district opponents this season. If each team wins their final regular season game on Tuesday, Feb. 13, they will each be Co-District champions.
“Whether we split it with another great team or we get to keep it as our own, it’s still a District Championship,” Ellis said.
Overall, Ellis and Wrightsil each said the win will help create momentum heading into the playoffs. Prosper boys hoops has not advanced past the second round to post season since 2014, when Prosper was a 4A program.
“This game just gave us even more motivation for the playoffs and these tough games,” Wrightsil said. “This is going to be the same atmosphere we’re going to have in the playoffs every game.”