Troup’s Gilbert looks for college home
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Troup High’s Amber Gilbert is still looking for a college home.
Gilbert was a four-year starter on the Troup girls’ basketball team, and she helped lead the team to the state-championship game as a senior.
While Gilbert has the skill level to play basketball in college, where she’ll end up has yet to be determined.
The recruiting process has changed considerably over the past month or so, with student-athletes unable to visit campuses because the lockdown spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.
Carla Thornton, Troup High’s head coach, is doing what she can to help her star player make the best choice.
“We’re trying to help Amber find a location,” Thornton said. “She’s still weighing options, calling every day. It’s a process. The problem for her is you can’t go and visit, so it makes it difficult.”
Gilbert, who Thornton calls a “cornerstone” of a team that finished 27-2, capped her memorable high-school career with a big senior season.
Gilbert averaged more than 15 points per game, and she saved some of her best moments for the season’s biggest games.
In a 46-45 win over Cross Creek in the second round of the state tournament, Gilbert scored 18 points and made five 3-pointers, including two in the game’s closing moments.
In the Region 5-AAAA-championship game against Sandy Creek, Gilbert made four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to lead a furious comeback that ultimately fell short.
Gilbert went down with a knee injury in the third quarter of that game, but she returned and made four 3-pointers in less than three minutes in the fourth quarter, and she finished with 20 points.
“It’s just her will to win, and wanting to be there for her teammates in a moment like that,” Thornton said. “For her to step up and hit those shots at the end, that was huge.”
In a key win over Central-Carroll late in the regular season, Gilbert had an extraordinary game with 24 points and 21 rebounds, and she scored 14 points in a victory over McDonough in the quarterfinals of the state tournament.
“She gets to where she takes over, because she hates to lose,” Thornton said. “She puts the team on her back, and we ride her wave. The girls trust her. They get a rebound, and they pass it back to her. That shows that they trust each other.”
After watching the team lose in the first round of the state tournament the previous three seasons, Gilbert helped Troup make it all the way to the championship game as a senior.
Troup beat Chestatee, Cross Creek, McDonough and Carver before losing to Americus-Sumter in the title game.
“I’m very proud,” Gilbert said before the state-title game. “We’ve worked hard to get where we are now.”