The Prosper boys basketball team made school history on Tuesday, Feb. 20, holding off Frisco Heritage for a 63-50 win in the bi-district round of the playoffs.
It’s the first time Prosper has won a playoff game since 2014, when the Eagles were a 4A program. Since then, Prosper had been eliminated in the first round in three consecutive seasons.
“It’s a monkey off our back,” Prosper head coach Jonathan Ellis said. “It’s a step in the right direction.”
Winning a postseason game was a goal for Prosper since the beginning of the 2017-18 season. Last year, the Eagles suffered a heartbreaking loss in the bi-district round on a controversial buzzer-beating layup against Frisco Centennial. This time, Prosper looked for redemption.
“This is a totally different team,” Ellis said. “They didn’t put us in that situation. We still have those returners from last year that still felt that pain and didn’t want to feel that again.”
The Eagles pulled off the victory without two of its usual starters: seniors Jerry McElroy and Taveion White. Without them in the rotation, Prosper received solid contributions from role players and came together as a team to pull off the victory.
Ellis said he was proud of the way players came off the bench and stepped up without two key pieces of the team.
“It might not always show up in the box score,” Ellis said. “Tonight, it was in the rebounds, intensity, diving for loose balls and making good, smart passes.”
Junior Josh Davis and seniors Zach Wrightsil and Kyle Jessen carried the scoring load, combining for 89 percent of Prosper’s points. Jessen got the team rolling early on, scoring all his 13 points in the first half.
From there, Davis and Wrightsil put the team on their backs. Davis led all scorers with 24 points, driving to the basket at will and capitalizing on his free throw attempts, going 12-for-16 from the line. Wrightsil was also dominant down low, scoring 19 points on 9-of-17 shooting. The duo made a huge impact on the glass as well, pulling down 15 rebounds apiece.
“[Davis and Wrightsil] were able to create and find some open lanes,” Ellis said. “I was proud of them for not looking for the call, just trying to finish.”
Frisco Heritage (19-14, third in District 13) did not go down without a fight. After heading into halftime down 37-26, Heritage cut the deficit to five points halfway through the third. However, Prosper responded with efficient offense and smart defense down the stretch to seal the victory.
“They ran a few things that really tricked us and stymied our defense,” Ellis said. “Thankfully, we got a couple of buckets and a couple of stops towards the end.”
Next up for the No. 5 ranked Prosper boys basketball team is an area round matchup against Royse City (19-5, 9-2 District 15) on Friday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Location is to be announced.