Zach Barker continues his profile of nationally ranked Rice Lake High School basketball standout, Henry Ellenson.
Although 2014 ended in a couple of tough losses to Milwaukee area schools, Henry Ellenson started out the New Year in style, playing Eau Claire North, a team who's post rotation stands 6'5, 6'4,6'4. Henry again stood out with a dominate 26 point, 9 rebound game.
Ellenson set the tempo early. Missing his first shot attempt (a triple teamed left handed hook), he righted himself on Rice Lake's second possession, throwing down a tone-setting dunk. Attacking the paint his first couple of touches, he then found teammates for two quick baskets, finding them from the right side low block. His third assist of the quarter came from the elbow extended, flinging it to a cutting teammate under the basket. At that point, Rice Lake had a comfortable edge, and Ellenson settled for two different elbow 3-point attempts. After the first 3-point attempt, the Rice Lake coach switched up their full court press, moving him from the back safety role, to the inbound/trapper role. In Eau Claire North's last 5 attempts to bring the ball up in the 1st quarter, Henry had 2 deflections and created a turnover. His wingspan and ability to not foul overwhelmed the ball handler.
Henry sat the last minute of the 1st quarter, and the first minute of the 2nd quarter. When he entered, his first shot was a powerful dunk that sealed the game. At this point, Henry had 5 defensive rebounds, and after each rebound, took over the point guard duties. After collecting his 6th rebound, he casually brought the ball up the court and hit a top of the key jumper. He collected buckets number 5 and 6 of the night around the rim: a reverse layup and drop step from the left block.
The 3rd quarter was more of the same from Henry. After missing an elbow jumper that should have went down, he proceeded to hit an off the dribble baseline pull back jumper fluently, then a catch and shoot 3-point shot off of an inbound pass. His first two 3's of the night had come from similar places on the floor, but had been "given" to him by defenders laying off, Henry settling for the open look. This play off the inbound, while very simple seemed to focus Henry on the upcoming shot attempt, which produced a more fluent looking shot. After his made 3-pointer, he displayed a nice right handed hook over 4 defenders, only to follow it up with a steal and a thunderous missed dunk that caused the most applause from the visiting crowd of the night. He finished the 3rd quarter with 12 points, 2 blocks and the steal for the quarter. He sat out the last minute again.
By the time the 4th quarter started, the game had become less organized – a rout. After EC North had an offensive possession that seemed to last minutes, Henry finally cleared the board, getting his 9th rebound of the game, and was subbed out with a little more than 5 minutes left in the game. His final line: 26 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks & 1 steal in 3 quarters played. At the end of the game he was scoring at will, attacking the rim and using his jump shot off of his penetration. He also changed the game defensively when they installed him in their full court press, showing good footwork as well as not reaching and fouling. While EC North wasn't a tough match up, you could tell his game had tightened up a little bit from playing the tougher competition in Milwaukee over the break. Rice Lake remains undefeated in the Big Rivers.
by Zach Barker