ALLEN — An Area-round matchup against the District 15-5a champions proved to be no challenge for the Prosper boys basketball team.
The Eagles, ranked No. 5 in the state, took care of business against Royse City with ease, winning 64-35 on Friday, Feb. 23. It’s the first time Prosper, riding a 10-game winning streak, has won the area championship since the 2009-10 season.
“We’ve got a sign in our locker room that says, ‘offense wins games and defense wins championships,’” Prosper head coach Jonathan Ellis said. “Tonight was all about defense.”
Prosper played suffocating defense all night. It started in the first quarter, as the Eagles held Royse City scoreless for the first five-and-a-half minutes of the game. Prosper took advantage and went on an 8-0 run and led 15-5 after the first quarter.
Prosper’s offense got going thanks to efficient shooting from their guards. Freshman Grant Shaw, getting his second consecutive start in place of injured senior Jerry McElroy, scored eight points in the first half and finished with 11 on the night. Three of his buckets came from outside the three-point arc.
“You’ve got to give huge congrats to him, knocking down those shots at the beginning of the game,” Ellis said. “That loosened the defense up even more.”
Of all contributions, none were bigger than the performance given by junior Josh Davis. He finished with 25 points, nine rebounds, three assists and five steals. Davis stayed aggressive and was extremely efficient, hitting 7-of-11 shots from the field and 8-of-10 from the free-throw line.
Davis got the crowd going on multiple occasions, including the end of the first half. After hitting a shot with about five seconds left in the first half, Davis stole the inbounds and immediately converted an and-one layup at the buzzer, giving Prosper a five-point swing to take a 30-15 lead at half-time.
“It feels good coming off last year’s disappointing first-round loss on that buzzer-beater,” Davis said. “We still know we’ve got more to go.”
Second-chance points were a big emphasis and a clear advantage for Prosper. The Eagles raked in 13 offensive rebounds, which created opportunities to score and prevent Royse City from going on any runs to get back in the game. Royse City made a three-pointer only three times all night — Prosper responded with a score of their own each time.
“Rebounds, hustle plays and diving for everything makes the difference in the game,” Davis said. “Us winning those 50-50 balls has really helped us out in these first two playoff games.”
Next up was a match-up against District 16 champion Sulphur Springs, ranked No. 13 in the state. Tipoff was set for Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at Princeton High School.