While her classmates back at Brookswood Secondary have been wrapping up the final few weeks of classes and exams, it has been a slightly different month of June for Louise Forsyth.
The Grade 10 student at Brookswood Secondary competed earlier this month at the B.C. high school track and field championships at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park — she won silver in the junior girls triple jump and bronze in the discus — and the next day, she was on a flight to Toronto for a three-day national age-group camp.
And it has all paid off as Forsyth made the final cut for Canada’s U16/U17 women’s basketball team.
“It’s a big sense of accomplishment,” Forsyth described. “I am really proud that I made it because the girls here are the best in Canada.”
She spoke to The Times by phone from Toronto last week, in between two-a-day practices with the rest of the Canadian roster.
The team left over the weekend for Mexico, where they will compete at the FIBA Americas championship.
Canada begins the tournament today (Wednesday) and has games against Cuba, Venezuela and Brazil.
“She came into camp with a great level of fitness and was really open-minded and coachable,” said Carly Clarke, the team’s co-head coach with Jodi Gram.
“And Louise really worked her butt off, more than anything else.
“She is a tremendous athlete.”
And that athleticism will be put to the test as Forsyth gets her first taste of international basketball.
“We are looking for her to bring her athleticism on the defensive end,” Clarke said.
“We are really trying to play with our athleticism, use our athletes and (Louise) will be part of that.”
Forsyth has played the past two seasons on the Brookswood Bobcats senior girls team, despite the fact she was just a junior. The team won the B.C. 3A provincial title both seasons.
Brookswood coach Neil Brown called Forsyth one of the quietest, but hardest working players he has seen in his 35 years.
“Lou is maybe the most extreme hard worker,” he said.
“She walks in the gym by herself at 7 in the morning and says hello … gets her stuff and starts working. She doesn’t need anyone.”
“There are a lot of kids nowadays willing to be trained by somebody, but few kids are willing to train (on their own),” he added.
“She does not need anybody to push here, she does not need anybody in the weight room, she does not need anybody on the track, she does not need anybody in the gym. And in my 35 years, you don’t see many kids like that.”
Making this team was a pretty big goal Forsyth had set for herself.
Forsyth also attended evaluation camps for the team in December and March, impressing the coaching staff both times to earn herself another invitation.
The first camp had 65 players invited while the second one was down to 26.
And when Forsyth arrived in Toronto for this latest camp, the list of invitees was down to 17 players, before being reduced to 14, and then finally the final roster of a dozen players earlier this week.
Forsyth, is a six-foot guard who will be counted on to contribute both from the outside and driving the lane.
“Louise has done a good job of shooting open shots, she has really improved her three-point shooting,” Clarke said.
“And she is doing a good job of attacking the rim. She is able to finish quite well, so that is something we are looking for her to do when she gets the opportunity.”
Forsyth has been working on her outside shot, especially because the three-point line in international basketball is further back.
“I have been in the gym training, especially working on my three-point shot,” she said.
“With the line further back, I have been working on extending my range.”
Once she returns following the competition, Forsyth will need to write her provincial English exam, which she will do at the end of August.