Gillig works her way to remarkable record
NEW RIEGEL — Steve Lucius admitted he was in awe.
The former head coach of the girls basketball team at New Riegel High School was trying to put into words what Brianna Gillig had just accomplished.
Lucius — who is now an assistant on NR coach Cindy Walerius’ staff — has coached so many great players.
He coach Rachel Faeth Fruth, who until Saturday held the program’s all-time scoring record. He coached Leanne Lucius, who followed up a great prep career with four solid seasons at Tiffin University.
And he coached Taylor Kirian, a good-at-everything athlete who is now playing softball at the University of Akron.
And there were so many others.
But none of those players have accomplished what Gillig has. With a layup with 1:15 left in the first quarter in what became a 62-25 win over Cory-Rawson, Gillig managed to secure a pair of records.
She broke the girls program scoring record, previously 1,413 points, held by Faeth Fruth. She also set the school’s all-time basketball points record, which belonged to Paul Gnepper. He had 1,414 points.
With her 30-point effort Saturday, Gillig stands alone atop the school’s record books with 1,439.
“I’ll tell you what, she’s amazing,” Steve Lucius said. “She was our manager back, several years ago, for a couple of years. (We thought), ‘Well, this girl’s gonna be a really nice player, but she’s working at it, hard, as a manager, and working on her left hand.
“But I never expected this.”
The game was stopped after Gillig’s record-breaking basket, at which point the senior was congratulated by her teammates, her family, and by Fruth and Gnepper, who were each in attendance.
Fruth and Gnepper presented Gillig with the game ball.
“It’s just crazy,” Gillig said. “I would have never thought, going into my freshman year, that that would ever happen, me breaking a huge record for our school. Now, being on top is just a good feeling.”
Watching Gillig play is different than watching most top players. She scores copious amounts of points, but outright refuses to hog the ball.
“As long as there’s two people on me, I always know there’s somebody else open,” she said. “So, I’m always looking for the open person.”
She’s a top rebounder who is only 5-foot-9. And she can be an elite defender — she has had five steals in each of her last two games.
And then there’s the attention she draws from opponents. She’s rarely left open.
“I know it’s gotta to be hard, because she knows every game one or two are going to be on her,” Walerius said. “But she just works through it. She works her hardest to get open, and she does a great job.”
Cory-Rawson coach Lauren Cuellar usually had a few players defending Gillig Saturday, but the standout still found a way to be effective.
“She’s very physical, and the defenders that had to be on her were my little, quicker girls,” Cuellar said. “They stepped up though, they took those hits and they were pretty strong.”
But Gillig was too much. She also picked up 11 rebounds. Her final shot of the afternoon was a corner 3 in the fourth quarter.
She drained it. She checked out for good with about six minutes left.
“She’s just an all-around player,” Walerius said. “She can play every position and do everything.”
Gillig was also able to share the moment with her sister Brooklyn, who also plays for the Blue Jackets.
“I wouldn’t want it any other way,” the senior said. “It’s awesome to be able to play with her. I played with her in AAU, so we kind of know where we’re at at all times. It’s nice.”
Opposing teams need to know where Gillig is at at all times as well.
But she still finds a way to score points, and break records.
Zach Baker is the sports editor for The Advertiser-Tribune.
Contact him at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Zachthewriter