Categorized | Feature, Sports

Freshman Gillis takes girls basketball by storm

Sam Bernstein staff writer

As the point guard on the varsity girls basketball team, Arbri Gillis led the team to a 22-10 record in the regular season and then went on to dominate in the postseason and win the CIF Division 4A Championship. She won the team’s Player of the Year award and says her ultimate dream is to play in the WNBA one day. Oh, and she’s a freshman.

Gillis had 11.4 points per game and three boards on top of a steal and a half (according to MaxPreps) as a freshman. On top of that her team captured a CIF title. In her eyes, that isn’t enough.

“We can improve on everyone’s scoring, so it’s not just someone scoring 20 points here and five points here, we can work on scoring more,” Gillis said.

Gillis knows her role on the team is crucial and recognizes the player she has to be to lead this team.

“Everyone depends on the point guard. I need to bring up the ball, tell other people [on the court] what to do, actually make the plays and score,” Gillis explained.

Gillis, who moved here in the summer of 2014 from Sacramento, says that the talent is much better in southern California.

“[Basketball is] more competitive. There are a lot more people who want to get better. There are also people who want to beat you, especially because you’re from Beverly Hills,” Gillis said.

Outside of school, Gillis plays on a club team that travels across the country to participate in tournaments. Gillis returned home from a tournament in Phoenix on Sunday, and she is going to Dallas for another tournament in July. Gillis believes the work she puts in on her travel team positively translates to her game at the regional level.

“I really like it. Playing on a club team gives you more experience and it helps you get better. On club teams people really want to get better and [club] teams are more well-bonded then school teams,” Gillis articulated.

Gillis was presented with girls basketball’s Player of the Year award at the program’s end-of-the-year banquet on Tuesday, May 9. Gillis was ecstatic and absolutely thrilled upon receiving the award.

“I think that it’s really cool that I won Player of the Year. I didn’t expect it. There are other athletes out there that work on their game as much as I do and probably even more, but as a freshman I was really shocked,” Gillis happily exclaimed.

Gillis loves the spotlight. After winning CIF, she happily embraced her newfound fame on campus as the leader of the successful program.

“[The attention garnered after winning CIF] feels really good, all the positive attention. Everyone knows your name! I like the positive attention and people are just so kind,” Gillis beamed.

Gillis raved about the team’s chemistry, especially in practice.

“It’s never a normal day. We love each other. It’s a family and families aren’t normal, they do weird things, and we’re like sisters. Practice is intense but we also like having fun with it,” Gillis said.

Gillis credits basketball to forming her friend group in high school. She feels like because she is been a heavy contributor to the best team on campus, she’s more notable to other students.

“I’ve definitely made a lot more friends and met more people throughout high school,” Gillis said, “People actually know my name because of the basketball games and they recognize me because they think ‘woah, she’s good.’”

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