Whether it’s a basketball game or practice, Brooke Gallaway knows only one way – all out, nothing held back.
Gallaway, a four-year starter at Central Valley, is a blue-collar player. What the 5-foot-11 wing might lack in athleticism she more than makes up for with proficiency in fundamentals.
In other words, Gallaway has made herself into a player.
“Her work ethic is unparalleled,” CV coach Freddie Rehkow said.
Gallaway has the same approach in the classroom. Her cumulative grade-point average is 3.93; she’s had all A’s except a B as a sophomore her first semester in advanced Spanish.
“I got straight A’s in middle school and I wanted to get straight A’s in high school,” Gallaway said. “It was devastating. It took me a while to get over it.”
Gallaway may be the most complete player in the Greater Spokane League.
“She made an immediate impact as a freshman,” Rehkow said. “What people see from her in games, she goes just as hard or harder in practice.”
A two-time first-team all-Greater Spokane League selection, Gallaway is excited about her future in the game. The problem is she just doesn’t know where she’ll be going to college.
The summer before her junior year, Gallaway suffered a stress fracture in her right foot. She played in one early summer tournament and, against her better judgment, in the Jack Blair Memorial All-Star game.
Two days after the all-star game, her foot was in a cast. She had to be in the cast for four weeks, missing the critical time college coaches were watching juniors-to-be play.
By the time last summer rolled around, most of Gallaway’s peers had college offers in hand.
Her AAU coach, Ron Adams of the Spokane Stars, says without hesitation that Gallaway will play at the NCAA Division I level.
The late signing period is in late April, and Gallaway is receiving interest from Santa Clara, Wyoming and Montana.
“I’m not concerned about it,” Gallaway said. “My team is more important right now.”
That’s not just rhetoric for Gallaway. That’s who she is – the team comes first. Talk to her for a few minutes and she quickly deflects attention or praise to her teammates.
Gallaway eclipsed 1,000 career points earlier this season, and she’s rising quickly on CV’s and the all-GSL career lists. She’s averaging a league-leading 19.8 points per game. She’s also contributing six rebounds, three steals and three assists.
“She’s playing the best I’ve ever seen and I’ve been around her since seventh grade,” Adams said.
This year is the healthiest Gallaway has been.
“Freddie’s doing a great job with his team and with Brooke,” Adams said. “She’s the best inside/outside threat in the whole state. She can play facing the basket or with her back to it. I know because I see all the best players in club. There’s really no weakness in her game.”
Gallaway is perhaps the most difficult matchup in the GSL.
“A horrible matchup for anyone,” Ferris coach Rob Coulter said. “Tough to guard and gets to the free-throw line. Relentless.”
North Central coach Gabe Medrano agreed.
“She’s great at creating space to get her shot off,” Medrano said. “She’s also a very underrated defensive player.”
Gallaway and senior point guard Katie Estey, also a four-year starter, have been the Bears’ leaders this season.
“She’s a great team leader,” Estey said.
Estey and Gallaway have been longtime friends. They communicate with each other on the court without having to say a word.
“We look at each other and just know what each other is thinking,” Gallaway said. “I wouldn’t be having the season I’m having if it wasn’t for her. She finds me when I get open. I give her a lot of credit.”
The No. 1-ranked Bears (13-0 overall, 11-0 league) want not only to get back to state for the first time in eight years, they want to capture a state title.
“We can still improve a lot,” Gallaway said.
Adams has watched many of CV’s games this year.
“The players around her maximize her talents and she makes everyone around her better,” Adams said.
Gallaway said she has special relationships with Rehkow and Adams.
“They’ve really helped me a lot,” Gallaway said. “Freddie really helps keep me relaxed. Ron has helped with a lot of stuff. He’s really made me a good shooter.”
Gallaway is shooting a team-leading 56 percent from the floor and 86 percent from the line (98 of 110).
She says her improvement this season over last is more mental than physical.
“I feel like I’ve matured and that comes with being a senior,” she said.
“She’s not one who was given a 6-foot body or a wiry frame, and she doesn’t run like a gazelle,” Rehkow said. “She gets what she gets because she outworks people. That’s something that comes from within. Coaches have a saying that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. She’s blessed with both.
“It’s going to be a sad day when she’s done here.”