LANGLEY — Louise Forsyth joined the basketball program at Brookswood Secondary as an eighth grader back in the fall of 2012 as a player oozing promise.
Yet if you had peeked in on one her earlier phys-ed classes being run under the watchful eye of Neil Brown, the architect of one of Canada’s most successful high school programs, you might have wondered if she would ever have the strength to carry the expectation commensurate with that promise.
“I was pretty hopeless,” begins Forsythe. “In Grade 9 I was in senior P.E. and we had to do the 80-pound bench press. I could only do it four times.”
Yet while it was far from the worst display in the history of pumping iron, it bears special mention on this, the final week of the B.C. senior girls basketball season.
And that’s because, in a figurative manner of speaking, that same young girl has grown to not only carry, but embrace the weight of her school’s historic run towards a fourth straight title when the 2017 Telus B.C. championships open a four-day run at the Langley Events Centre on Wednesday.
Over a season in which she was the prime focus of every team she faced and still averaged 31 points, 14 rebounds and five assists, Forsyth has been selected as the B.C. Secondary School Girls Basketball Association/VarsityLetters.ca Player of the Year.
The selection was made by a panel of BCSSGBA members. Varsity Letters did not take part in the selection process.
Yet even more than those numbers has been the excellence she has helped create en route to the position she finds herself in this week, of becoming the first player in B.C. girls high school basketball history with a chance to both play in five straight championship finals and win four of them.
To road back to the LEC as the Fraser Valley’s No. 2 seed is not a surprise, but if anyone was expecting Forsyth to expedite the process with a string of easy, fast-break lay-ups, that has not been the case.
In fact, it’s been a season which has taken a physical toll on the Gonzaga-bound senior.
“Every game, there is plan to stop Brookswood and a plan to stop me,” she admits. “They take turns putting different players on me, and not that they are purposely fouling, but the game plan is to be aggressive.”
In the final analysis, Louise Forsyth spent her entire varsity career, from Grade 8 onwards, in a state of heightened learning.
Each year, whether mentoring under the likes of the talented Jessie Brown or the incomparable Aislinn Konig, the bar was kept just out of her reach, pulling her towards higher ground.
And then came this season, one in which the team was finally hers to lead without question.
The weight wasn’t too heavy, the responsibility not too great.
For the record, Forsyth is doing a lot more reps in the weight room. In fact, when it comes to her workouts, she is having trouble knowing when to say ‘when’.
“Mr. Brown will not like hearing this,” she says of her coach, “because he always says to me that I am doing too much. But I go for runs on my spares, after school and after practice.”
Even though she could potentially close the most decorated career B.C. high school girls basketball has ever seen, Louise Forsyth is still on the chase for more.
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