Dark Horse Spotlight

2022 5’5 G Ella Winterhalder

Following a winter filled with electric scoring outputs, one might say that South Elgin rising junior Ella Winterhalder just completed a “breakout” sophomore season.

2022 5’5 G Ella Winterhalder

2022 5’5 G Ella Winterhalder

But for those who know Ella, the tremendous sophomore campaign that she just concluded went exactly the way they anticipated.

Count Ella’s former AAU coach with the Truth (now M14 Hoops), Eileen Copenhaver, among the latter crowd. “She loves the game of basketball and puts in the work at both ends of the court to continue improving”, said Copenhaver. “Ella can hit that long-range shot, but she also keeps defenses off balance by mixing in her deep threes with her ability to attack the rim. Her desire to win makes her an asset to any team”.

Indeed, Winterhalder can hit the long-range shot, and it’s safe to say that she can do so as well as any other player the area has to offer. In fact, just this past winter, she connected on more three pointers (80) in a single season than any other South Elgin player in school history, and she did so with remarkable efficiency and as only a sophomore. Even more impressively, she now sits in second place among South Elgin’s all-time leaders in three point field goals – an accomplishment that she completed in only two years of high school to date. Ella shows no signs of slowing, either, and her virtually-unlimited shooting range combined with her confidence in her own abilities puts that new record – her record – in serious jeopardy with two years of high school basketball remaining.

But Ella is more than just a shooter, and it’s that versatility that helped her to a single-season scoring average of 13.7 PPG this past season. She’s strong and decisive off the dribble, employing her high basketball IQ to read defenses and identify scoring abilities for herself and her teammates alike off the attack. With soft touch around the basket and an advanced midrange game, Ella is truly a threat whenever she has the ball in her hands, making her a unique offensive weapon.

Off the court, Winterhalder’s high-IQ carries over into the classroom. Following her first two years of high school, she sports a 4.63/4.0 weighted GPA. It’s true that Ella is only halfway through her high school career, but the well-rounded rising junior is one for coaches to follow closely as they begin to piece together the early stages of their 2022 classes.

Now, allow us to introduce you to Ella in her own words:

  1. As you think ahead toward your ideal college situation, what factors are most important to you in picking a school? What are you looking for in a school and basketball program?
    When looking for a school, two of my main priorities are making sure it aligns with my goals and my personality. I’m looking for a school with a strong academic reputation as well as a basketball program that is competitive. I like the idea of variety, so I am looking for a larger school that provides many different opportunities. On the top of my list is a program that has strong relationships between players and the coaches coupled with open communication. This will allow me to push myself and teammates to be the best we can be. From an academic standpoint, I am interested in an environment that challenges me and offers many career paths. Overall, I feel that a school that pushes me to work hard and aim high would be the best fit for me.
  2. From your perspective, what are your greatest on-court strengths that you will bring to your future college program?
    My ability to consistently knock down shots and create scoring opportunities for my teammates are my greatest on-court strengths. I believe in playing hard and playing smart at all times and that is often displayed by my high basketball IQ and my hustle on the court. While shooting is my greatest strength, I also can help my team by attacking the rim, taking charges, breaking a press, and using my ball handling skills to get past a defender. All in all, my work ethic and court vision are just a few things I can offer my future program.
  3. During this coronavirus-inflicted “shelter-in-place”, which aspects of your game are you working to improve? And how are you being creative with your workout routine?
    The main aspect I am focused on during this shelter-in-place is ball handling, because I know there is always room for improvement. I am participating in ball handling video sessions with my AAU team in my driveway and riding my bike to a local park to work on my shooting and finishing moves. I am also building my strength through video strength sessions with my AAU team and running or biking almost every day.
  4. If we asked your teammates what their favorite part about playing alongside you was, what would they say?
    I think that my teammates would say that they love my level of competitiveness and also the fact that I am always looking to make one more pass to create opportunities for them. I strive to do my best and I encourage my teammates to do the same. Although I am working on being more vocal, I believe that I lead by example and my team loves playing alongside a competitor like me. They know that I always have their backs, I’m the first one to pick them up or hype them up, and I will always leave the court giving it my all.
  5. During this time in which college coaches cannot travel to watch you play live, what’s one thing you’d like for those coaches to know about you?
    I would like coaches to know that I give 110% in everything I do, whether that be on the court or in the classroom, and that I strive to become the best player, student and person I can be.

Interested in learning more about Ella?

Additional film, academic information, and other recruiting updates are available to college coaches upon request. Email bruggles@darkhorserecruits.com to learn more.