Fonda Ellis was among the first to know that her son, Perry, had passed Aubrey Sherrod for the career scoring record at Heights and for second in City League basketball history. True to his personality, Perry Ellis was one of the last to find out.
Ellis scored 30 points in Heights’ 63-49 win over South on Tuesday night. Ellis has scored 1,754 points, 15 more than Sherrod (1978-81) and 209 behind Greg Dreiling, the league’s career leader who scored 1,963 for Kapaun Mount Carmel from 1977-81.
Fonda Ellis knew the day was coming, and she tracked her son’s points during Tuesday’s game. She knew Perry’s three-point play with 2:30 to go in the second quarter gave him the school record, but that knowledge was for personal satisfaction only.
Ellis’ parents didn’t tell him he was approaching the record, and Ellis didn’t find out until coach Joe Auer informed him after the game.
"If it had mattered to him, we would have told him," Fonda Ellis said.
The achievement was essentially meaningless to Perry Ellis, not because he doesn’t appreciate the rich history of Heights basketball and the fact that he has passed three NBA players — Sherrod, Antoine Carr and Darnell Valentine — on the Falcons’ scoring chart this season.
Ellis is far from phony when he says that personal success ranks well behind team accomplishments on his priority list. Still, he was somewhat taken aback when he learned of his feat.
When Auer informed him, Ellis raised his eyebrows and smiled. Not the most demonstrative response, but for Ellis, who rarely displays emotion, it was practically incredulous.
"That’s a real honor," Ellis said. "With all the people that came before me — Aubrey Sherrod, Antoine Carr and all of them, that’s a real blessing."
Great things were predicted for Ellis during and after his freshman season, when he helped lead the Falcons to the first of three straight Class 6A championships.
The following season, perhaps sensing that Ellis would one day join them in the Heights pantheon, Auer began educating him on Heights’ best players. Ellis grew to appreciate the accomplishments of his predecessors, if not his own.
"My sophomore year, Coach really started talking about them and what they accomplished and the things thay they did," Ellis said. "I wanted to try to keep on with what they’ve been doing."
Auer didn’t get to coach Sherrod, Carr or Valentine, but he values Ellis as much as he holds dearly the rich Heights history.
"He scores all those points without an ‘I’m going to get mine’ mentality," Auer said. "It’s ‘we’re going to win.’ It’s quite an amazing feat when the team succeeds at the same time a player succeeds statistically."
Ellis set the record quickly on Tuesday, making his first seven shots on the way to an 11-of-14 night. He had nine rebounds and was 7 of 11 from the free-throw line.
With a chance for four straight state titles, Heights is erasing some of the league’s greatest historical teams from the record books, and now Ellis is eliminating some of its best players. Some day, he might be impressed by that.
"He’s passed three McDonald’s All-Americans, and he’s done it in such an unselfish way," Auer said. "We’re going to take a few moments before (Friday’s) game to recognize the accomplishment, then move on. He won’t want to do that, but I think we’ll have to make him do it."
|Heights (7-0, 6-0)||22 13 12 16 — 63|
|South (1-7, 0-7)||5 12 13 19 — 49|
HEIGHTS: Moreland 1 0-0 2, Moore 2 0-0 4, Reed 1 0-0 2, Bell 1 3-4 5, Smith 2 0-2 4, Thurman 5 0-0 14, P. Ellis 11 7-11 30, B. Ellis 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 (5) 10-17 63.
SOUTH: Wesley 4 2-3 13, Martin 1 0-0 2, Davis 2 5-6 10, Parker 2 0-0 5, A. Keiswetter 5 3-6 13, Moore 2 0-1 4, Lewis 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 (5) 10-16 49.