As a high school sophomore, Gloria Blanks admits she couldn’t “walk and chew gum at the same time.” The gangly 6-foot-2 youth was cut from the Barberton High School girls team. From then on, she taught her opponents something about rejection, blocking hundreds of shots back in their faces during a career that made her one of the most honored female basketball players in area history. She made the Barberton team as a junior and led the Lady Magics to the Class AAA state championship game as a senior in 1979. They lost to St. Vincent-St. Mary despite her tournament-record 21 rebounds in the final. For the season, Blanks average 18 points and eight rebounds a game and was a second-team All-Ohioan. Blanks graduated to Malone College in Canton, where three times she was named All-America, twice by the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (Division III) and once by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. She was the AIAW’s Division III player of the year in 1982. In four seasons at Malone, Blanks scored 2,459 points, grabbed 1,257 rebounds and blocked 591 shots – all school records. She averaged 22 points a game for her career in helping Malone finish fifth in the AIAW playoffs in 1982 and reach the Final 16 of the NAIA championships in 1983.