09 Jan Ellis aims for championship return
by Levi Gilbert
Defeat can be a unique catalyst of change. After falling in the 1A state championship game last year, Alaina Ellis and the Mount Vernon-Enola Lady Warhawks are laser-focused on closing this season with no regrets.
“My goal this year is to give the team everything I can and 100 percent of my effort to not end a game wondering what more I could have done,” Ellis said. “To make it back to the finals, in every game and every possession, we have to work as a team and encourage one another.”
Ellis, a senior forward for the Lady Warhawks, was selected to this year’s 501 Basketball Team — 34 players representing the best the 501 has to offer both on and off the court. The team is sponsored by Conway Ortho and Sports Medicine Center, Conway Regional Health System and First Security Bank. Ellis was nominated by her head coach, Adam Carlton.
“Last year, Alaina was all-district and had a big role in leading us to the state finals,” Carlton wrote in his nomination. “She is a really good shooter for us and shoots the 3-pointer well. She’s one of our leaders on the floor. She has an extra role this year than she had last year. She will have to be our inside defender at times.”
Ellis and the Lady Warhawks take on Wonderview this Friday. Matchups with the Lady Daredevils normally carry a lot of importance for both teams, but the game is even more meaningful for Mount Vernon-Enola. Wonderview was the team that defeated them in the championship game in 2018.
“Wonderview is always a big game, and it would be nice to prove ourselves when playing them,” Ellis said.
In their first matchup with Wonderview back in November, the Lady Warhawks fell, 61-52.
“Offensively, we are going to need to get to the basket and take good shots,” Ellis said. “Defensively, we have to keep people in front of us and cover the shooters and not let the ball get into the post. We are all going to need to work together and get good ball movement, and rebounding is always big playing Wonderview.”
Currently, Ellis is averaging 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists per game. The senior is shooting 43 percent from the field.
Ellis is a multi-sport athlete for Mount Vernon-Enola, playing softball and golf in addition to basketball.
Off the court, Ellis attends church at Mount Vernon Baptist Church and works on the staff at Cold Springs Retreat church camp every summer, where she serves as a lifeguard.
Ellis and the Lady Warhawks play host to rival Wonderview at 5 p.m. Friday.