Feb 13, 2013 5:37 PM by Bill Halter
The girls basketball CIF playoffs start Thursday. After going undefeated in the Los Padres League for a second-straight year, Morro Bay faces a loaded bracket in Division 4AA that features the third ranked team in the nation, Windward.
The Pirates are led by senior Hannah Gilbert. The 6-3 post will play at Cal Poly next year and is this week's legend in the making.
It's a playoff tradition at Morro Bay to tape the name of the upcoming opponent to the wall in the gym. Gilbert is hoping to do it five times and finish her high school career with a CIF title. "It's exciting but it's really nerve racking. It's a bunch of emotions. It's sad because I won't ever get to play ball with these girls again. It's exciting because I'm going to get to go play at Cal Poly next year. It's nerve racking because you play and you either win or you lose and you go home," said Gilbert.
The gamut of emotions is understandable considering Gilbert has been playing with this group of teammates her whole life, dropping sweat on basketball courts all over the state. "All the dedication, with some school teams you play, but with us it's a year thing. It's an agreement we're willing to work, spending all four years getting better rather than just four seasons getting better," said Gilbert, who is a four year starter for the Pirates.
"At the beginning and start of high school I was kind of like I just stood there and if you pushed me around I kind of let it happen. But I've kind of started to figure out that if you keep letting them push you around they're still going to do it," added Hannah.
Gilbert has learned to leave her nice and cordial personality at home and as become an all around force who gets better when the pressure rises. "She is just a fun loving kid off the court, who people generally like being around her. She's a warm hearted person, just a wonderful personality. But it's like Jekyl and Hyde,when she gets on the court it's all business," said long-time Morro Bay head coach Cary Nerelli.
Gilbert plays the role of superstar on the court. She's averaging 18-points, 9-rebounds and 2.3-blocks but off of it, it's a different story. "You would never know by the way she acts in the gym that she was getting a scholarship for anything. Sometimes I feel like she doesn't even realize how good she is," said teammate Carli Watt.
Gilbert has never gotten past the second round of the playoffs. The Pirates host a 13-14 St. Mary's team on Thursday night at 6 pm.
"We don't work as hard as we work just to make sure that we lose, we work as hard as we do to make sure that we win," said Gilbert.
The Pirates have only lost 21 games in the four years that Gilbert has been playing on varsity.
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