Prep Basketball: Chansler Gilbert doesn't mind being a spark for Lincoln County girls
Senior Chansler Gilbert, right, would like to be a starter, but understands the spark she brings to the team coming off the bench. (Hal Morris / December 18, 2012)
The Lincoln County senior admits she would rather be starting, but knows that team comes first. That’s why she has embraced her role as the Patriots’ first player off the bench because it is what is best for her squad.
“I kind of got used to it last year and I kind of like it this year because I can come off the bench and give us a lift,” said Gilbert, a 5-5 guard. “I know our coaches know what they’re doing, so you just have to trust them.”
Lincoln coach Cassandra McWhorter said she knows Gilbert would love to start, but she likes the attitude Gilbert has in accepting her role.
“Chansler’s a leader. She has a big heart, she loves her teammates, she loves the game,” she said. “And as a senior, and you only have five seniors, your natural tendency is to want to start. But she has talked to me and we have talked about her role and she is a critical part of giving us a lift when I go the bench.
“I look at her and say, ‘Chansler, let’s go.’ She always seems to come in give us a lift and that’s something every team needs when they go to their bench.”
Gilbert said “spark” is a word that McWhorter uses often when talking about her in her reserve role.
“She’s used that word, gives us a spark on several occasions. I guess I just feel I do give us a spark, and I like to communicate out there and be a good defensive player and good offensive player,” Gilbert said. “I show a lot of emotion and my teammates have told me they like that.”
Maybe more importantly than just being the first player off the bench, Gilbert is a senior who is coming off the bench who has seen it all and won’t freeze up when a game gets tight.
“I think it helps a lot just having somebody coming in where you can be thrown into any situation,” she said. “Whether you’re down by 10 with three minutes to go or you’re up three with a minute to go. You just know (what to do) because you’ve been there before and you know what to do and how to compose yourself and your team.”
McWhorter agreed, and added that Gilbert’s attitude as a senior is as big a reason for her success as anything.
“That’s huge. Her attitude and leadership ability to accept her role and do that. It speaks volumes as to the kind of person she is and that she does care about her teammates and success of her team,” McWhorter said. “It’s not an easy role and it’s not one that she probably necessarily loves, but she’s accepted it. She’s taken it on well and I need for her to continue to do that for us to be successful.”
Of course, success means another 12th Region title and deep run in the state tournament. The Patriots are 6-1 and have won three straight going into holiday tournaments in Lexington and Florida over the next couple of weeks.
Gilbert said the Pats are up to the challenge.
“I feel like we’re going to get everybody’s best shot this year. that’s expected,” she said. “But we’re not overlooking anybody. We’re gong into every game as if were the underdog and we just go out and perform. We don’t look at rankings, we just play our game and worry about us.”