Thaxton, Ellis make it back to back weekly RRAC awards sweep

WACO, Tex. — Playing only one game last week, the performances by sophomore Kelsey Thaxton and junior Brandon Ellis for LSUA women’s and men’s hoops, respectively, proved to be strong enough to garner Red River Athletic Confernce Player of the Week honors for both of the Generals’ guards, the league office announced Monday. LSUA swept the weekly honor for the second time after last week’s accomplishment made LSUA the first school to sweep the awards this season.

In women’s action, Kelsey Thaxton reached the 25-point mark for the fifth time this season, helping LSUA knock off a top 25 opponent and grabbing a share of the top spot in the RRAC standings after Thursday night’s contest. She attempted seven triples, missing only twice as she connected at a clip of 69% overall from the field. She scored eight points in a two-minute stretch to help the Generals close the first half on a 14-3 run (led 48-35 at halftime). In the third quarter, LSUS made a run and was able to pull within four points.

However, in the midst of LSUS’s 32 third-quarter points, Thaxton scored 14 points, including a stretch of three 3FG in three minutes near the end of the quarter. After holding off the Pilots run and keeping an eight-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Generals scored the first bucket of the fourth quarter and held a double-digit advantage the rest of the game. Thaxton also pulled down four rebounds and added two assists and a steal.

Brandon Ellis led the men’s team to a conference win against a nationally-ranked-number-five LSUS squad and created a two-game lead atop the RRAC standings. Ellis scored 15 points in the first half (finished with 21 to lead all scorers), keeping the Generals in the game (trailed by one at halftime). In the second half, as the Pilots keyed on him to limit his scoring, Ellis distributed to generate opportunities for LSUA. He tallied six assists in the second half (finished with a game-high nine assists). He commanded the floor as the Generals rallied for a 19-2 run late in the second half to erase a 15-point deficit with 7:02 remaining and ultimately grabbing the win. He buried his game-leading sixth 3FG of the game with 2:08 remaining to cut LSUA’s deficit to two points and added a free throw at the 1:42 mark to pull within a point. LSUA then scored six of the game’s final eight points.

Overall, LSUA basketball has combined for nine Player of the Week awards, which is tops in the league. The LSUA women have earned five weekly nods (Brittany Hall twice, Kelsey Thaxton twice, Courtney Dawsey), while the men have garnered four (Chris Vickers twice, Emanuel ThompsonBrandon Ellis).

LSUA basketball continues RRAC action on the road this week at Paul Quinn (Thursday) and Southwest (Saturday) before returning home next week to face Texas College on Thursday, January 30 and Jarvis Christian on Saturday, February 1.