Friday, Dec. 3, 2010
By Michael O'Brien
De La Salle senior Dre Henley calls him "the big dog," but sophomore Alvin Ellis is not supposed to be one of the Meteors' key weapons this season.
Henley, Illinois recruit Mike Shaw and highly-touted sophomore Alex Foster own those roles.
But it was Ellis, the youngest starter on the team, who stepped up and carried the load in No. 5 De La Salle's 67-60 Catholic League North win at St. Rita on Friday.
Shaw was hampered by foul trouble throughout the game. He finished with six points and three rebounds and fouled out with 2:40 left in the game.
"Most people probably wouldn't have expected us to win with Mike putting up those numbers," Ellis said.
Ellis scored 20 and grabbed seven rebounds and scored four in the 9-0 fourth-quarter run that sealed the win.
"I know everyone is criticizing our guards and saying we are too young and inexperienced," Ellis said. "So it's good to be able to step up and help the team get a big win."
De La Salle's young backcourt had plenty of trouble with St. Rita's full-court press. The Meteors (5-0, 1-0) turned the ball over 26 times, which kept the Mustangs hanging around until the fourth quarter.
"We're still getting used to playing with each other," Henley said. "It's still early, that was the first big game of the season."
Henley, who returned to De La Salle after spending last season at Brehm Prep in Carbondale, scored 16 and grabbed nine rebounds.
"It was good to be back," Henley said. "We played last week but this was my first game back in Chicago."
Foster, a 6-7 soph, is developing a significant post game. He finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, including a tomahawk slam on a fast break late in the third quarter that helped turn the momentum the Meteors' way.
St. Rita is playing without its best player, junior AJ Avery who suffered a hand injury four weeks ago. According to coach Gary DeCesare, Avery will see the doctor on Tuesday and could return relatively soon.
The emergence of freshman Dominique Matthews (21 points) has helped the Mustangs stay competitive. Tony Hicks and Cullen Foulks each added 10 points for St. Rita (2-2, 0-1).