PLAYER OF THE WEEK — Memorial’s Jackie Gibbs still learning, improving

Published 12:18 am Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Jackie Gibbs has been around Memorial basketball all throughout high school. She was raised up as a freshman to the varsity team, even though she felt some hesitation.

“I didn’t want to because coming as a freshman out of middle school is nerve-wracking and overwhelming,” Gibbs said. “Everybody around me, my family and friends, strangers that I didn’t even know at the time said ‘You’ve got game, you should do that,’ and I listened to them and I did it.”

After four years of experience, Gibbs has become a core component of the Lady Titans’ court presence.

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She scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Titans’ 38-28 win against Legacy Christian on Friday, the first win of the season for the Titans.

For her performance she is named The Port Arthur News Girls Player of the Week.

“She’s just been a bonus for us,” head coach Kevin Henry said. “I don’t have to worry about grades with her. She’s pretty consistent; she’s going to be here. The biggest thing is trying to keep her healthy, because when she’s healthy she’s going to give us her all and it’s going to make us better.”

Henry has coached Gibbs all four years of her time in high school. He saw in her potential prompted him to make her part of the varsity team as a freshman.

“She has a nose for the ball,” Henry said. “She rebounds very well. She has length so she’s able to block shots, able to get her hands on a lot of deflections, so defensively some things you can’t just coach, she’s a natural.”

Some of that natural talent rubbed off on her when she used to play volleyball.

“It’s quite funny because I wasn’t the best volleyball player,” Gibbs said. “In volleyball you block, and I’d think of it as just a basketball. People would laugh at me because I really didn’t do it in the volleyball way, I did it in a basketball way. I was pretty good at blocking balls, and that kept me in shape for the season.”

Despite her experience, Gibbs admits she’s still learning and working on her game.

“It’s still like being at day one for me,” she said. “It’s some of the fundamental things that you thought you knew but you don’t. It’s just everything really. Even my IQ, I say it’s high but you can always learn a lot more. It’s just a lot.”

The team as a whole is still learning, Gibbs and Henry feel. The team learns something from every game and will take the first win into district play at Nederland at 7 p.m. today.

It’s her last year playing high school basketball, and the importance of the season is apparent to Gibbs.

“Since my freshman year Coach Henry would always say to the seniors, ‘This is your senior year,’ and I’d keep hearing it, and now it’s my senior year,” she said. “Just by being Player of the Week, I guess I’m doing it right my senior year so far. I want to keep doing it. It means a lot to me and I want to make my parents proud and my family proud.”