A member of the powerhouse Unity Christian senior girls basketball team is making the next-level leap.
Seventeen year old Olivia Lounsbury has committed to the Camosun College Chargers for the 2020-21 season, taking advantage of a right-place-at-the-right-time moment to get things done.
Late last season, the talented teenager didn’t have anything cooking for post-secondary b-ball, and she was worried she wouldn’t get noticed.
Lounsbury went to Victoria to play in a Christian schools tournament and picked a great time to have one of the best games of her life.
She couldn’t miss from three point range, dropping shot after shot after shot.
The referee in the game couldn’t believe what he was seeing from a single-A talent. During a break in the action he contacted Camosun coach Justin Thiessen and said something to the effect of, ‘You’ve got to get down to here.’
Thiessen hurried to the gym and settled in to watch Lounsbury.
He was just as impressed as the ref and quickly added the Chilliwackian to his recruiting list.
“That was probably one of the best tournaments I’ve played in,” Lounsbury recalled. “It’s usually held at my school, but it was held on the Island this year, which was really lucky. I was thinking of contacting the Camosun coach before we went, but I didn’t for whatever reason. And then to play the way I did and get a message from him after that tournament was kind of crazy.”
Lounsbury started playing b-ball at Unity Christian in Grade 8 and she was named a single-A all-star in her Grade 9, 10, 11 and 12 years.
Surrounded by a talent on a loaded team, Lounsbury helped the Flames reach provincials in four straight seasons.
Unity Christian won the championship in 2018, finished second in 2019 and 2020 and finished third in 2017. She was named a second-team provincial all-star as a Grade 9 and a first-teamer the next three years.
In a career filled with big moments, Lounsbury’s favourite moment isn’t what you’d think. Winning the title in 2018 was special, but it doesn’t lead off her highlight reel.
“In Grade 9 (2017) I was a starter on the senior team, and we weren’t expecting to do well at all,” Lounsbury said. “But we ended up going to provincials for the first time, not really knowing what to expect, and we placed third. I know it’s just third, but I think it was the start of something great.”
On the club basketball side, Lounsbury has played for the Langley Hoopsters, VK Basketball (North Vancouver) and the Chilliwack Basketball Club coached by Kyle Graves.
This year she earned a spot on the Metro Vancouver all-star team.
Single A players rarely get recognized when compared to AAAA talent, but Lounsbury showed she is one of the elite point guards in the province, combining shooting and ball-distribution with on-court success as her VK basketball team won club nationals.
“That was unreal,” she said. “I was one of two single A players to get the all-star selection, and that was a really huge compliment. It’s unfortunate that the all-star game in March was cancelled, but it was still a huge accomplishment.”
Now, Lounsbury’s getting ready to join the Chargers.
It’s a weird time. She can’t travel to the Island and practice with her future teammates, and she’s limited in what she can do in Chilliwack.
She lives next to Unity Christian and she’s been a fixture at the outdoor court. She’s also keeping regular appointments with longtime trainer Elle Kerfoot at EK Hoops Training.
“And we have a little gym in our house where I’m working out every day,” Lounsbury said. “For sure, it’s been hard being away from the Island, but the team’s been having weekly Zoom meetings, and the coach has been really supportive making sure the new girls know that we’re still part of the team.”
Lounsbury is hopeful COVID-19 restrictions will ease and the 2020-21 PACWest basketball season will start on time.
She can’t wait to get started.
“I’m definitely expecting to be challenged a lot more, even in practices,” she said. “I’m expecting faster pace and more competition, which I love. I’m excited for that and I’m excited to learn more about how I can better my game.”
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