GW Graham basketball grads make jump to Douglas College

Sydney Fraess and Julia Sprott will graduate from GWG in June and join the Royals this fall.

A friendship forged on the basketball court at GW Graham will continue at Douglas College this fall.

Julia Sprott and Sydney Fraess have both signed on with the Royals, a team playing womens’ b-ball in the PACWest conference.

Julia and Sydney are graduating from GWG in June, and looked for post-secondary landing spots together on a road-trip tour that took them to several schools.

The best friends traveled to Vancouver Island to visit the VIU Mariners, and toured Langara and Douglas.

They had road trips planned for Capilano College and Okanagan College before committing to Douglas.

“(GWG senior girls) coach Sarah (Mouritzen) said to us one day, ‘Why don’t you go somewhere together?’ and that got in our heads,” Julia said. “We said, ‘Yeah! We can go to school together and that would be the most awesome thing.’

“We ended up going to two practices at Douglas and we saw one of their home games and spent a day with some of their girls.

“Everything lined up so perfectly.”

In many ways, Sydney and Julia traveled the same path at GWG. Other players may have been flashier, but whatever they lacked in pure athletic ability, they made up for with drive and work ethic. Both were huge contributors to a team that advanced to the AA provincial final in February, finishing second.

“In Grade 10 I couldn’t shoot. I air-balled almost everything. I was terrible,” Sydney recalled. “But I had a good summer of training between Grade 10 and 11 and we had our home tournament at the start of the next year where I killed it.

“I suddenly started shooting threes and I hit six or seven in a game. I was so hyped up, and that’s where I came out of my shell.”

By the time her high school career wrapped up, Sydney fashioned herself into a player capable of knocking down outside shots and mucking it up in the paint.

For Julia, things changed late in her Grade 11 season, but for her it was more mental than physical.

“I’ve always struggled with self confidence and being able to go on the court and say, ‘I can do this,’ but at the end of that Grade 11 year something turned in my head,” she said. “Before then I was so nervous and scared on the court, but something changed where suddenly I was so hyped up to play.

“Basketball games became exciting for me.”

By the time Julia’s high school career ended, she’d cemented her status as a team-first player who did whatever was needed for her Grizzlies to succeed.

For many players making the next-level leap and dialing up the work ethic that Julia and Sydney already have down pat is the trickiest part.

High school stars who don’t feel the need to grind in practice because they’re more talented than their opponents find life difficult in an environment where everyone is a former high school star.

Because they’ve never been top talents, because they always had to work extra hard to earn their minutes, Julia and Sydney have a fantastic foundation in place.

“Sydney wears her heart on her sleeve and always has, and she’s going to go on to do great things,” Mouritzen said. “And Julia was the emotional backbone of our team, our best communicator and the first person to pick a teammate up.

“Our entire senior class (Sydney, Julia, Jaya Bannerman and Sofia Armengual) will be really hard to replace.”

Sydney is super excited to get the next chapter in her life started. There’s some nervousness going against more experienced players, and a little element of the unknown.

She feels she can compete, but until she’s on the court for real, she’s not 100 per cent sure. That’s why she’ll be so happy to have one friendly face at her side.

When she misses a shot or a defensive assignment and her confidence takes a hit, she knows she’ll have Julia there to pick her up, and vice versa.

Julia is just as thrilled.

“Two years ago, Sydney and I were just acquaintances on the same basketball team,” Julia said. “But we’ve kind of had the same journey, in a way, and we found each other and grew together.

“We trained together in the summer at the Cheam Centre. Sydney’s my person to call for a run and she has become my best friend.”

Just Posted

Mental fitness questioned of man charged in Chilliwack River Valley shooting

Peter Kampos told his lawyer ‘his dreams are being stolen and turned into drugs’ at Surrey Pre-trial

Jason Lum was the top vote-getter on Chilliwack council

New Chilliwack council will be sworn in at inaugural council meeting on Nov. 6

West Van Highlanders beat Sardis Falcons on last second field goal

The Falcons fell 17-14 on home field and will finish the BC High School football season on the road.

Okanagan Sun stop Valley Huskers in BCFC semi-final

The Huskers dramatic turnaround season ended on the road at the Apple Bowl in Kelowna.

Chilliwack Chiefs acquire veteran goalie Nolan Hildebrand

Mathieu Caron has played way too much this season and now has an experienced backup

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

Vancouver mayoral hopefuly admits defeat, congratulates winner Kennedy Stewart

Ken Sim of the Non-Partisan Association apologized for the time it took to acknowledge Stewart won

Fraser Valley mom stuck in Africa over adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran have been waiting four weeks to bring son home

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Election watchdog seeks digitally savvy specialists to zero in on threats

Move follows troublesome evidence of online Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election

More court before Dutch man charged in Amanda Todd case is extradited here

Appeals must be dealt with in Europe, before charges faced in B.C.

Crown says man guilty of B.C. girl’s 1978 murder based on alleged confession

Jury hears details of girl’s 1978 murder while Crown says man should be convicted of girl’s murder based on alleged confession.

Most Read