Success doesn’t drive Chris Gilmore. He finds motivation in failure.
“I love to lose. It teaches me more than winning,” said the Chico guard. “But if the team is not winning, I’m not happy.”
Through the first four games of District 11-A play – thanks in large part to Gilmore – the Dragons are winning and on their way to earning a second straight trip to the playoffs. Even after a setback against seventh-ranked Poolville Tuesday, Chico (7-10) is 3-1 in the district and in second place.
Gilmore has averaged 17.3 points in district, hitting 40 percent of his shots from the field.
“He’s really come into his own,” said Chico coach Chad Woodard. “He’s the catalyst for the team. We’re going to go how Chris goes.”
After earning a playoff spot last year, the Dragons graduated their three leading scorers. Woodard wondered where the scoring would come from before Gilmore exploded on the scene at the start of district play.
“We had a scoring void to fill and he did,” Woodard said.
Gilmore credits Woodard for showing confidence in him. His freshman and sophomore years, Gilmore explained he deferred to teammates instead of stepping forward to take the big shot.
“Last year, I was worried about taking shots,” Gilmore said.
“Coach said we needed someone to become a scorer and I decided to do it. Coach has given me the green light to shoot it.”
Gilmore’s biggest night was the 31-point effort against Santo Jan. 10. The 5-5 guard had some extra motivation that night.
“My peewee coach said I wasn’t going to do anything, and I try to prove him wrong every day,” Gilmore said. “I was too small and everyone was blocking my shot.
“He came to the game where I scored 31. He didn’t have anything to say after.”
Off the court, Woodard describes Gilmore as a “goofball.” Gilmore doesn’t deny that. But he takes on a different demeanor once the ball is in play.
“I get crazy in class. I’m always goofing off and saying crazy things,” Gilmore said. “When it comes to basketball, it’s as serious as it gets.”
After Poolville held him to just two points Tuesday, Gilmore is ready to get serious again and lead the Dragons back to the playoffs. And that failure only fuels his drive more.
“I can do anything that I put my mind to,” he said.