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Jeffress, Lee named Top Athletes at HCHS

Deaundra “Dee Dee” Jeffress and Thomas Lee were honored as Female and Male Athletes of the Year at Halifax County High School Thursday morning.

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Morrison brings ‘A’ game to basketball court, soccer field and the classroom

South Boston News
Ella Morrison
SoVaNow.com / April 20, 2020


If you’re one who enjoys Halifax County High School sports, you get to see some very talented student-athletes representing their school.

One of those athletes is sophomore Ella Morrison. Morrison plays basketball and soccer for the Comet girls varsity programs in each sport.

“I have always played soccer and basketball,” Morrison said. “My freshman year I also ran cross country.

“I played middle school (basketball) for sixth and seventh grade. I then played jayvee my eighth grade year for both basketball and soccer.”

While her skills on the girls soccer team are much appreciated, it’s Morrison’s game on the basketball court that has local sports fans cheering. The sophomore made the varsity team as a freshman — much like her senior teammate Dee Dee Jeffress did.

“I was really proud and excited, but yet still nervous,” Morrison said of her selection to the varsity team. “I was excited to be a part of something like that.”

Since joining the team Morrison’s game has risen to another level. She’s a menace on defense and can light up the nylons fast on offense.

Coach David Graham says that Morrison brings several talents to the court. And while he likes her defense, it’s the offensive attack she brings that really shines.

“Ella is another reason the girls basketball program has begun to grow,” Graham said. “Like Dee Dee, she started her freshman year also. Immediately the team began scoring more points which translates into more victories.”

Graham said that one only has to look at her production levels from her freshman to sophomore year. The coach said Morrison increased her numbers by 100 percent.

“She comes to practice wanting to learn and play the game better,” Graham explained. “With each practice this year, her sophomore year, she has doubled all her stats from her first year.”

Morrison said that’s all fine and well, but it’s no time to rest on those laurels. The spirited sophomore says there’s always room for improvement.

“I would definitely like to keep improving all my skills,” Morrison said. “There is always room for improvement and if you are content with where you are, then you will never move forward and get better.”

Morrison said out of all the areas where she has improved, the most important may be the soft skills she brought to the team this season.

“I feel I have progressed in all aspects of my game,” Morrison continued. “I feel like I most improved on leadership and helping my teammates. Our team being more like family definitely helped throughout the season.”

“With Dee Dee graduating she will be asked to do more next year with her attitude and her will to win,” Graham said. “She will become a great leader of the team.”

Morrison said the desire to compete in sports has been with her her entire life. She comes from a sports family and is proud of it.

Morrison has four siblings, Evin, Lucy, Ford, and Henry. Her parents, Robert and Cathryn Morrison, supported the kids as they were growing up in South Boston in their athletic endeavors.

“I’ve been involved in sports my whole life,” Morrison said. “All my older siblings played multiple sports so I grew up competing and playing with them.

“My mom said the first time I was in a gym I was three days old, to watch my brother play. My siblings molded me into the player and person I am today.”

Morrison said that she is constantly working on her basketball game. She really doesn’t get much downtime and when she does it’s generally spent with her family.

“I really never have an off season,” Morrison reflected. “I play high school basketball and soccer and AAU basketball.”

Morrison plays AAU as part of Carolina Elite basketball. The organization is Christian based.

“I play AAU throughout the whole summer. Playing with them has helped me realize so much of my potential. Traveling across the country and to Europe to play the best girls in the game has affected me tremendously.

“I am very proud to be a part of Carolina Elite basketball. It is a Christian organization and along with playing basketball we have helped many people. We traveled to the Czech Republic on a mission trip and it was eye opening.”

Morrison said one area of her skill set she wishes to improve are her emotions. The rising junior realizes her capacity to get animated.

“I need to better control my emotions at times. I get very, into my games and at times it hasn’t ended very well.”

But the future is looking extremely bright for the 2020 Piedmont District first-team honoree and 2020 Region 4 second-team member. She not only brings nice skills to the court but also dedication to her classes. “She is an honor student in school,” Graham adds.

Morrison said she is disappointed by spring sports being canceled due to the current COVID-19 pandemic as she plays soccer. She said her heart goes out to seniors that won’t get to play their final high school season of sports.

“I play soccer in the spring and I was very sad to hear that we could not finish our season,” Morrison said. “I feel bad for my seniors that didn’t get their last moments.

“I wish I could step out on the field with Mandy Lewis one more time. I’m gonna miss all my seniors and my heart goes out to them.”

Currently she is keeping up her school work online. She also is aware of the need to continue to practice safe health measures during these times and maintain her fitness.

“I keep up with my schoolwork online and try to stay at home safe,” Morrison said. “I work out as much as I can, basketball skill training, lifting, and running.”

The girl who you might find with a set of headphones — “I listen to all kinds of music” — and munching on her favorite food, “breakfast food,” is ready to go back to HCHS to begin her junior year.

“My time has been very interesting and entertaining,” Morrison said of attending HCHS thus far. “Everyone here has helped me learn so much about life and myself. My teammates have definitely become family.”



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