High School Sports

Gonzaga Prep’s Otiona Gildon leads The News Tribune’s all-state girls basketball team

Otiona Gildon has no shortage of movie recommendations.

But while her preferred genre is comedy — especially “The Little Rascals” — when game time rolls around, it’s no laughing matter for the Gonzaga Prep senior.

Gildon’s development into one of the state’s best post players has earned her a slew of Greater Spokane League honors, a scholarship to play at the University of Oregon next year — and the distinction of being The News Tribune’s state basketball player of the Year for 2014-15.

“Just knowing that doing something I’m good at is going to take me far,” said the 6-foot Gildon, who prefers to be called “Oti.”

Gildon, who is ranked by one recruiting service as the No. 38 player in the country, is averaging 18.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game this season. Last year, she led the Bullpups of Spokane to their first Class 4A state title.

Gonzaga Prep coach Mike Arte said that a combination of skill and effort makes Gildon the best post player he has coached in 27 years.

“Whether in the weight room or on the floor,” he said, “there’s no one who works harder.”

So much that instead of naming one area where she excels, Arte has a list that includes amazing rebounding, tenacity on the boards, strong footwork and physical strength.

“It’s obviously been a spectacular career,” he said.

Gildon, who moved to Spokane from Indiana in middle school, started playing basketball at age 8. She has always played post, except for a stint at guard in third grade so forgettable that “it doesn’t count.”

“I love the game,” she said. “I love the team aspect of the competitiveness of it.”

Gildon, who also plays for the Spokane Sandpipers club team, said that she may study carpentry at Oregon, where she will play wing. She said the change will be an adjustment — “but I’m ready for the challenge.”

First, though, she is looking to end her high school career with one more state championship.

“I have a big weight on my shoulders,” Gildon said. “But it’s also exciting that people know I can do the best I can.”