Keller guard becoming young leader

Posted Monday, Jun. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Keller girls basketball player Alli Gribbin has plenty of leadership experience under her belt going into her junior season.

Gribbin spent her sophomore year as the point of an uncommon 1-3-1 zone defense run by Keller, dictating the flow of the defense by which way she directed the opposing point guard.

Next season, she will direct the flow of the whole Keller squad, being the only upperclassman on the team.

“I’m defiantly ready for it,” Gribbin said. “I know over the summer, that’s the main goal for me, to get better in select but also try to get better for the school season because I know I’m going to have to step up offensively, defensively, and basically in every aspect of the game.

“I know everyone is looking for me to lead in practice, and coach [Doug] Sporrer depends on me and take charge of the team.”

Starting every game last season for Keller as a sophomore, Gribbin made a name for herself as a spark plug and a defensive stopper. With some help from Keller’s unique defensive formation, the 5-foot-9 guard broke the school record for steals with 94, averaging 2.8 per game.

“I got a lot of steals by just pressuring, which I love to do,” she said.

Her energy and tough defensive play earned her the nickname “Energizer Bunny” from coaches and teammates, visibly shown in her hyper attitude during games, she said.

“In timeouts I can’t sit still, I just want to play,” Gribbin said. “I’m always doing something or running around or always talking.”

Though she felt satisfied in her work of breaking the steals record, it mostly has made her hungry for more. She said hopes to improve on her offensive numbers from last season, when she averaged 9.2 points and 2.4 assists per game, or rebounding stats, 3.1 per game, to take down another school record or two before she graduates in two years.

“I love defense, but it kind of made me want to set another record,” she said. “It would push me to get something else, like rebound-wise and work on the different aspects of my game.”

That work ethic is not exclusive to Gribbin’s work on the court, but can also be found in the classroom. Gribbins does hope to play basketball in college and has received interest, including from some Ivy League schools.

However, to Gribbins, the hard work begins with her studies and spreads throughout the rest of her life.

“I feel like if I’m not excelling and working hard in the classroom, it might effect how I play. If I stay focused and work hard in the classroom, I think it helps me stay focused on the basketball court.”

Coaches from Brown University visited Keller’s practice during the past season to take a peek at Gribbin’s talent and the rising junior said she is heading to several college camps, including Penn, St Joseph’s and Northwestern over the summer when she’s not playing for her select team, the North Texas Shockers.

Gribbins said in that 1-3-1 defense, she feels comfortable doing whatever is needed to get a stop, because she trusts the girls behind her have her back. It’s a trust that Sporrer, Keller’s head coach, said is mutual and necessary for success next season.

“I think the other kids see her as a role model and that’s important,” he said.

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