All-area Team ?girls’ Basketball

Bell-Jeff’s Shelley Gupilan was a major reason the Guards found their way back to the CIF finals

April 12, 2008|By Story by Jeff Tully?Photos by Tammy Abbott

There is something that happens to Shelley Gupilan every time she steps onto a basketball court.

It is a transformation of sorts, not of the physical nature, but instead an alteration of her personality.

And when the Bellarmine-Jefferson High standout basketball player flips the switch, the change is instantaneous.

“When I’m not playing basketball, I like to joke around a lot with people,” said Gupilan, a self-described prankster. “I just think that some people are way too serious all the time and they should enjoy things a little more.

“Life’s just too short to be serious all the time.”

As much as she likes to have fun, her joking nature is left on the bench when she hits the hardwood.


“Basketball is serious to me,” said Gupilan, a 16-year-old junior. “I even get on my teammates sometimes when they’re joking around and not taking things seriously.”

The change in Gupilan’s personality is something that has surprised Bell-Jeff Coach Bryan Camacho since the junior — along with cousins Amanda and Margeaux — transferred to the program last year from Mark Keppel of Alhambra.

Camacho said he sometimes doesn’t even recognize the player he sees on the court knocking down shots and setting up Guards teammates with crisp passes.

“It is truly a transformation for Shelley,” Camacho said. “She is definitely a jokester off the court, always smiling and giggling with her friends, and usually pulling some kind of prank.

“But when the game starts she is really serious and she goes out there and takes care of business. She turns into a tenacious player who is focused on only basketball.”

It is that focus, along with a great deal of drive and a wealth of talent, that helped Gupilan thrive this past season. Her contribution helped Bell-Jeff put together a wildly successful season.

In light of those accomplishments, Gupilan has been named the All-Area Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year by the sports writers and editors of the Burbank Leader, Glendale News-Press and La Cañada Valley Sun.

With a deep bench and a fine group of talented players, Camacho made it a habit of liberally shuffling players in and out of many of Bell-Jeff’s games.

That meant players like Gupilan rarely had to log a lot of minutes.

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