The drive toward history
Danville’s Ella Collier putting the cap on her basketball career
By Mike Beas
The 45th season of girls basketball at Danville High School has the potential to be special for the Warriors’ best player and the program as a whole.
Potential milestones on the horizon include, in order, Ella Collier eclipsing 2,000 career points, a historically deep postseason run in the Class 3A tournament and the 6-foot Collier, a senior guard, being the first Warriors girls player fitted for an Indiana All-Star uniform.
Danville senior Ella Collier approaches 2,000 career points and could be named the school’s first Indiana All-Star. (Photo by Rick Myers)
Collier, a starter since her freshman season who earlier this month was on the verge of becoming Hendricks County’s all-time leading point producer – male and female – said the latter distinction would be the realization of a childhood dream.
“Being an Indiana All-Star would mean so much to me. It’s been a goal of mine since I was little,” said Collier. “To be the first girls All-Star from Danville would be special.”
Last summer Collier was selected as one of the six core players for the Indiana Junior All-Star Team. She’s more than lived up to her reputation this season, averaging 23.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.5 steals for a Danville club that started a new year 11-3 and ranked No. 7 in 3A.
But the process hasn’t been all uncontested jumpers, Collier said.
Warriors coach Kaley May, a 2008 Indiana All-Star after an outstanding career at Avon, wasn’t going to wait until Collier was a seasoned upperclassman to make demands. Collier admits now there wasn’t a day during the 2016-17 season she wasn’t reduced to tears either at practice or waiting until she returned home.
Looking back, Collier said her coaches broke her down and built her back up, and she couldn’t be more thankful.
“Mentally, I didn’t think I was ready for varsity as a freshman. I wasn’t good at getting yelled at, or it would upset me if the opposing team was stopping me,” said Collier. “I didn’t understand at the time why (yelling) was happening, but it was for me to understand there was so much more to the game. Now I understand why they did it.”
Collier would average 12.5 points as a freshman; she bumped her numbers to 21.3 as a sophomore and 22.2 last season. With Collier on the roster, the Warriors entered 2020 holding a 75-25 record, a mark that includes the program’s two semistate appearances.
Owner of a 3.3 grade-point average, Collier secured eight college scholarship offers (five from Division I programs) but committed to play at NAIA powerhouse Marian University in Indianapolis.
May, who broke ground as Avon’s first girls Indiana All-Star before playing at Butler University, said it would be a shame if Collier doesn’t eventually do the same for the Warriors’ program.
“Ella the highest game IQ of any player I’ve ever coached. She is very selective with her shots and has the work ethic to get better and better,” said May. “Ella has definitely progressed the most mentally from her freshman year. As she’s gotten older, opposing teams pay attention to her more and she’s become more creative scoring-wise.”