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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Athlete of the Month: Ella Thompson

JANUARY 2018 ATHLETE OF THE MONTH

CENTER GROVE GIRLS BASKETBALL PLAYER ELLA THOMPSON

By Rick Morwick

Ella Thompson. *Submitted photo

Ella Thompson has a shooting guard’s touch, a point guard’s skills and a defensive stopper’s mentality.

Little wonder Center Grove girls basketball coach Kevin Stuckmeyer has a specialized term for the junior standout.

“She’s kind of been what I call a combo guard for us, a point guard and shooting guard. She’s done both,” Stuckmeyer said. “It’s not really a stat-stuffer mentality with her. She does really well in all categories.

“It’s all the intangible things she does for us.”

A two-year starter, Thompson is, technically speaking, the Trojans’ point guard. But there’s more to her game than bringing the ball up the floor and looking for open teammates.

Much more.

A gifted shooter, skilled ball-handler and fiery defender, Thompson is also, in a sense, a coach on the floor. If the Trojans need a basket, she can provide it. If they need an assist, she can dish it. If they need a stop, she can make it.

And if they need a change of direction, she sets the pace.

“I just try to do whatever coach wants me to do,” said Thompson, who has started every game for the Class 4A 11-ranked Trojans. “Right now, he’s got me on the point, just kind of controlling the game, controlling the team, keeping everyone calmed down.

“I just try to get other people involved.”

Besides excelling in traditional point guard categories, i.e. shooting, passing, ball-handling and defending , the 5-foot-7 Thompson excels in an area seldom associated with backcourt players: Rebounding.

She leads the Trojans in that category.

“She’s just been really solid for us as far as being the leader on the floor and being able to compose our team when she has the ball in her hands,” Stuckmeyer said. “The team just feels comfortable and much more composed when she has it.

“She just has a tremendous, even-keeled mentality.”

In addition to leading the Trojans in rebounds, she also leads in assists, field goal shooting percentage, three-point shooting percentage and is second in scoring and steals.

Not surprisingly, Thompson already has a number of scholarship offers, including from the University of Indianapolis and Indiana Wesleyan University, and anticipates many more during a recruiting process she expects will continue into her senior year.

But for the moment, her basketball focus is on Center Grove’s season and its bid for a lengthy postseason run.

“It’s been a really good start to the season,” Thompson said. “We’re really clicking right now, team chemistry-wise, so from that standpoint things are going pretty well. As long as we continue to play as a team, we’ll be all right.

“As long as we play together, I definitely think we have a very good chance of winning sectionals and probably making a run at regionals.”

THE THOMPSON FILE

Name: Ella Thompson

Sport: Basketball

Year: Junior

Position: Point guard

Experience: Two-year starter

Favorite movie: “Hoosiers”

Interests outside of basketball: Plays varsity soccer and is active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes

College plans: Is entertaining offers to continue career in college

Parents: Greg and Nikki Thompson