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Gabby Ehlert willed her way back to the court after suffering an ACL tear in each of her knees during her high school career at Westbrook. A senior captain shooting guard, Gabby is averaging 10 points and three steals per game for the Knights’ girls’ basketball team this winter. (Photo courtesy of Gabby Ehlert )
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Coming back from one devastating injury in your high school career is difficult enough—let alone two. However, Gabby Ehlert’s story serves as a prime example of why perseverance pays off in sports.
Gabby is a senior captain who plays shooting guard for the Westbrook girls’ basketball team. She started off playing soccer, before taking up basketball when she was in middle school. During the first game of her freshman soccer season, Gabby suffered a torn left ACL. Then in her sophomore year, she tore her right ACL at the end of the basketball season.
Gabby endured the pain of going through her rehabilitation, but she was determined to get back on the court for the Knights in her junior year. Now a senior, Gabby is healthy and also happy to be averaging 10 points and three steals per game for Westbrook, which has a record of 6-5.
“I was shocked when the first tear happened. I was so upset about it, but I had the support of my family and friends,” Gabby says. “The rehab was painful after the surgery and, at first, I wasn’t motivated to go through it. During the second rehab, I realized if I worked hard, I would be able to get back and that, if I did the first one, I can do this one.”
Gabby was a little hesitant when she first returned to the soccer pitch following her injuries, although she progressively found her form. On the basketball side, Gabby had to deal with the challenge of balancing practices with her rehabilitation. The good news is that’s all in the past for Gabby, who’s been going all-out for the Knights all season.
“I was timid going back to soccer, because I wasn’t the same player I was before,” says Gabby. “For basketball, it wasn’t easy doing rehab between practices, but this year, I feel at my strongest so far. I just play the sport to its fullest.”
While Gabby frequently frees up space to give her teammates open looks, she also likes sprinting up the floor to get her own sure shot on the side.
“As a shooting guard, it can be hard in helping others get open when they are boxed in,” Gabby says. “I love when [fellow senior captain] Savannah Marshall gets the ball and passes to me on a fast break. I also like having open shots on the wing.”
Westbrook Head Coach Kelly Landino says that Gabby was tough as nails while facing the frustration of her injuries. Landino was glad to see Gabby stay strong and get back on the floor as a versatile scoring threat for the Knights.
“Gabby is a vital part of our team. She can handle the ball, run the floor, and score multiple ways. Her instincts are amazing, and she has super quick hands,” Landino says. “Gabby has overcome more than any other player I have ever coached. Two ACL tears may end some kid’s careers, but Gabby is tough and fearless. We couldn’t be happier that she is excelling her senior season, playing healthy and strong.”
The Knights faced some stern tests during the first half of their season, but those games gave them confidence for what lies ahead in the latter half of the campaign. As Westbrook gets ready to go on a playoff push, Gabby feels thankful for everyone who supported her as she worked her way back to the court.
“The first half of the season was challenging, but we were succeeding. But we’re now in a good position to make both states and Shorelines and go far in both,” Gabby says. “I have been very fortunate to have the support of my coaches, athletic trainers, and teammates, who have played a major part in getting me back to the game, mentally and physically. I also thank my parents, who are on the edge of their seats every game, making sure I’m OK.”
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