Southwood point guard Jessy Ellis lingered near the court after Saturday’s 85-70 West win in the LHSCA/LHSBCA all-star girls basketball game in Centenary’s Gold Dome.
Her friends and family members in the stands wanted to get a closer look at her newest MVP trophy.
“It felt good to know that I had so many people out here watching me play and supporting me,” said Ellis, who was named all-star game MVP after leading all scorers with 17 points. “I know I have kids looking up to me, or kind of looking up. A lot of them are already taller than me. But it’s a great feeling having that many familiar faces in the crowd.”
Ellis was also the Class 5A state championship game MVP earlier this month after Southwood topped Natchitoches Central for the title.
On Saturday, however, Ellis teamed up with Natchitoches star Victoria Rachal, who scored nine points, Southwood teammate Kourtney Pennywell, who finished with 12 points, and Plain Dealing’s Dennisha Chambers (16 points) for the West squad.
“It was really fun and a big challenge, because we were going up against some of the best players in the state,” Ellis said. “It was a good experience to play with the others on our team. They were a lot of fun, and it was good to get along with them. It was strange playing with them at first, but we got used to it quickly.”
The East team kept the game close until about 3:30 left in the first half. The East had taken its only lead of the game at 29-28. But Ellis, Pennywell and Chambers led a West explosion, a 19-0 run to end the half.
“It was great,” Pennywell said. “We’re not used to seeing some many good players on the other side. They had a lot of height. We just had to use our quickness to beat them.”
Chambers made an and-one layup with three minutes to go, and Ellis cut through the lane for an-up-and-under layup that brought cheers from the crowd.
“The big crowd did make us a little nervous,” Ellis said. “But we settled down and just played.”
The East never got close in the second half.
For Pennywell and Ellis, the game was a special way to finish their high-school careers. Together.
“We know that it won’t be our last time being around each other, because we are close,” Pennywell said. “We aren’t sure yet, but we will probably go our separate ways. That was probably the last game we get to play together.
“It was a great crowd, but we didn’t let it affect us.”