Binghamton's best bruiser, our latest Amphenol Aerospace Athlete of the Week is BHS Freshman Hayden Gibson and despite not even playing a full season of varsity hoops is turning heads all over the Southern Tier, take a look.

The center of attention and center position for the Binghamton Patriots...Teams know when you play the Pats, to mark up on number 30.

"She's super strong and she's super athletic," said BHS head coach Willie Fann. "And like I say, she's a rebound machine and she's going to be a force in the post for now and in years to come."

But as recently as last season, it wasn't varsity teams that were prepping on the freshman center.

"As soon as we were so practicing with J.V., I was like, she's definitely going to be something good for J.V. or varsity," said senior guard Sugar Williams.

Until Gibson was asked if she'd be willing to join varsity. The then eighth grader was hesitant at first, but after some convincing joined the varsity Patriots.

"If they believe in me, I must be doing something right," Gibson said. "So I was like, yeah and then from there, it all just happened."

And happened quickly, Hayden's first real varsity game was a playoff game, upsetting the two-seeded Elmira Express.

"I knew she was going to do well," Fann said. "I'd be lying if I said I knew she'd do as well as she did."

Ultimately, Gibson was a key factor in Binghamton's Section IV Double-A Championship over Corning and at first, even playing in it seemed farfetched.

"My teammates, they really helped me push myself to be like a better person, a better player all around," Gibson said. "And it really helped me calm my nerves during the whole three-game stretch we were in the playoffs."

Then, Gibson was the unknown, the player who came out of nowhere to help hoist a trophy for the Patriots, but this season, everyone in Section IV knows Binghamton's Best Bruiser.

"Feel like she's getting stronger as a player and more mentally tough because in college they're going to call a lot of the stuff that she gets called on," Williams said. "And so if she decides to take that to the next level, I think she's going to be pretty dominant and pretty be able to fight."

But before all that happens, Coach Fann and Co. have three more full seasons with the freshman, a superstar in the making.

"She's gonna have to be a star whether she wants to be or not," Fann said. "Because her talent alone is not going to allow her to be in the shadows. She's going to stand out. So I said, You might as well do it boldly."

And Hayden believes the skies the limit too, but appreciating every step of the way.

"I would say every memory is great," Gibson said. "Like, I really just love my team."

To nominate a student-athlete, email [email protected].