The Total Package
A player. A leader. A coach. A friend. A teammate.
Whichever role that a coach can ask one to play, Elli Bartley is there to not only play it, but master it.
Many great players have come through the Glasgow Lady Scotties basketball program over the last four seasons, but head coach Justin Stinson has no question in who was the floor general.
“As a point guard she always had the ball in her hands, but she played with a lot of poise,” Stinson said of Bartley. “She never got too high, she never got too low. She was constant. You could always count on her.”
According to Coach Stinson, his senior point guard “came out of the crib dribbling.”
“I’ve been playing basketball ever since I can remember,” said Bartley. “I don’t really know how young I was. My parents have helped me with everything along the way. I’ve had so many great coaches over the years to even count, especially Coach Stinson. I’ve been blessed with so many supporters.”
Bartley’s cool and collective demeanor on the court carried over to her high school career at Glasgow, where she was part of a bunch that scooped up two 15th District titles (2014, 2016) and one 4th Region Crown (2014).
As far as her personal stats are concerned, Bartley shattered school records with her consistent outside shooting, collecting 238 baskets from beyond the arch, good for 42% on 3-point baskets in her career. Seeing very valuable playing time for the Lady Scotties since the 8th grade, she averaged 10.4 points per game in her career including 13.5 points per game in her final three seasons.
However, if you were to ask Bartley about her memories as a Lady Scottie, she would not dare to discuss her own individual achievements, but would instead redirect you to some of the memories she had with her team, such as winning the All “A” State Tournament her freshman year, winning the 15th District Championship in 2016, and erasing a 19-point deficit to beat Somerset in triple overtime in the season opener of her senior year (a game in which she scored 30 points).
“The bond that you have with your teammates is like no other,” Bartley said. “I think that we have had a good chemistry every year. That’s what made us successful. Off and on the floor we were just all connected. Basketball skills come with that too, but other than that, you just have to play hard. That’s something that we’ve done every year, and we’ve had some close games. We’ve had some tough losses, especially the last game.”
Little known to her, that “last game” that Bartley referred to would be a game that she would never forget, unfortunately, not in a good way.
Glasgow entered their matchup with Barren County on Feb. 20, 2017 in the 15th District Tournament on a seven-game win streak, and the Lady Scotties were hotter than any other team in the district.
With her team leading 9-6 late in the first quarter, Bartley attempted to drive for a standard layup to give her team another two points. Instead, Trojan Gym at Barren County High School watched helplessly as Bartley collapsed to the floor and grabbed her knee, wincing in pain.
Justin Stinson watched in disbelief and concern as his senior point guard was carried off of the floor and into the training room.
“Your first thought is for her and her safety and if she is going to be okay,” said Stinson. “It’s a kid that you’ve seen grow up and a kid that you really love. She made it easy to come back out and coach because all she could say was ‘Go and tell the team to win the game.”
Bartley tore her ACL and MCL on the play, an injury that all players and coaches fear almost as greatly as any other serious injury. However, the injury brought out another side of Elli, one that is rarely seen even out of the best of players.
“I’ve seen many kids get hurt over the years and they would just sit on the end of the bench and cry,” said Stinson. “That wasn’t Elli. She came right back out after halftime and sat down in that front seat and was acting as kind of a second head coach.”
Speaking on that special moment prompted Stinson to reflect on his time with Bartley, a time which he “wouldn’t trade for the world.”
“I remember sitting down one night and popping in the old DVD of the Class “A” State Tournament,” said Stinson. “I reminisced a little bit about how small she was but about how smart she was as well. To see her grow up physically and mentally, it’s like having another coach out there. She’s been the ultimate leader not just during games but during practice and off the court every day.”
If Bartley had any advice to give to those who choose to follow in her footsteps, she would simply go off of her own experience as a Lady Scottie.
Work hard at everything you do,” Bartley exclaims. “That’s pretty much all you can do. Don’t take anything for granted, because you never know when your time could be up.”
In due time, Bartley looks forward to rehabbing from her injury to carry on with her basketball scholarship to the University of North Florida.
“They say rehab time could take six to nine months,” said a confident Bartley. “We will just take it day-by-day.”
Despite the setback, coach Stinson believes that the Lady Ospreys are, indeed, getting a one-of-a-kind player in Elli Bartley.
“She never gets down,” said Stinson. “She’s never out of the fight. Just a great leader, unselfish, she’s everything that you’re looking for in a point guard. She possesses it all……. she’s The Total Package.”