‘Never forget who you play for’

by Levi Gilbert

Alyse Ellis knows what it’s like to be on the biggest of stages, and she’s working to get her and the Mount Vernon-Enola Lady Warhawks back there again. 

In 2018 as a sophomore, Ellis helped the Lady Warhawks get to the 1A state championship game, where they fell to Wonderview. In the 2019 state tournament, Mount Vernon fell in the first round. 

“I want to be remembered as a team player,” Ellis said. “I personally care more about winning than personal success, so I want to be remembered as the player who gave everything she had for her team in order to win. 

“What one individual achieves on the team does not matter. It’s about what the team as a whole achieves.”

Ellis, a senior guard for Mount Vernon-Enola, was selected to this year’s 501 Basketball Team — 41 players representing the best the 501 has to offer both on and off the court. The team is sponsored by Conway Regional Health System, First Security Bank and Conway Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Center. The senior was nominated by her head coach, Adam Carlton.

“Last year, Alyse stepped up big time in big games,” Carlton wrote in his nomination. “She helped lead us to a comeback in last year’s district semifinals after being down by 18 at half. This year, Alyse is one of our leaders. I expect her to take over the role that our senior last year did. She will be one of our best shooters on our team.

Mount Vernon-Enola High School’s Alyse Ellis is a member of this year’s 501 Basketball Team, sponsored by Conway Regional Health System, First Security Bank and Conway Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Center. (Mike Kemp photo)

“Alyse is always an encourager to teammates. She is one of our best shooters on the team. She has played a big role the last three years on our teams. As a sophomore, she came off the bench and played big minutes on our team and has been a starter the last two years.”

The Lady Warhawks (10-1, 3-1) are already off to a fast start. 

“I am looking forward to playing Westside and Concord,” Ellis said. “We are very evenly matched with these two teams, and they always give us a good game. As a natural competitor, I love playing tough competition and look toward to the challenge of playing these two teams.”

Outside of basketball, Ellis is involved in Future Farmers of America and serves as secretary of the Beta Club at Mount Vernon-Enola. She attends Mount Vernon Baptist Church and serves as a staffer at Cold Springs Retreat. 

“Off the court, Alyse is a good student and mentor to our younger players,” Carlton said. “She is active in many clubs and activities while maintaining good grades. Alyse is a good teammate because she is always encouraging her teammates. She tries to pick them up when they are in a slump and is a great motivator to our sophomores.”

For Alyse, encouraging her teammates comes naturally and is all part of the bigger picture for the team’s success.

“Always stay committed and give full drive every time you step out on the court,” Ellis said. “And never forget who you play for.”

Mount Vernon-Enola returns to action at Sacred Heart at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6.

Levi GIlbert
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