Some kids grow up loving their sport.
But for Ali Wergeland, basketball was an acquired taste.
“I grew to love it,” she admitted.
She first started playing basketball in Grade 6. Back then, she also played volleyball.
But after coach Danielle Gardner introduced her to club basketball, the game won Wergeland over.
“I love the speed of it and the drive,” she said, explaining that while play stops in between every point in volleyball, in basketball it is continuous action for the most part.
And Wergeland capped off her high school career last month by winning most valuable player honours as the Langley Christian Lightning won their second consecutive B.C. senior girls 1A provincial title.
“(Ali) got things done on defence when we needed her to and stepped up in a leadership role,” said Gardner, who has coached Wergeland since Grade 9 at Langley Christian.
“She gave it all every game and she has done so for the past four years playing for me.”
Gardner said her reasons for persuading Wergeland to pursue the sport were simple.
“She was athletic, raw and had an incredible toughness and grit to her,” the coach said about what she saw when Wergeland was in elementary school.
The fact that Wergeland has gone all out these last few years should come as little surprise.
“I work my butt off in all my situations and I love constructive criticism,” she said.
“And I am always in the gym trying to improve because I know there are so many players better than me.”
Wergeland will get the chance to test herself against the top graduating high school players in the province after earning an invitation to the B.C. high school girls all-star game. It will be played on Saturday, April 16 at the Langley Events Centre and features 21 of the top Grade 12 players in the province.
The other team features another Brookswood player, Julia Marshall, who will play for Trinity Western in the fall.
“It is an honour (to be chosen for this game),” Wergeland said. “To be able to play and learn from some of the top high school players, it is nerve wracking but exciting.”
“She has put a lot of time into her game over the years. So this is a great way to finish off her high school career,” Gardner said.
But Wergeland — a five-foot-eight forward — is hoping this won’t be the last time she laces up her high tops at a competitive level.
The 18-year-old wants to continue the game at the post-secondary level.
She is scheduled to attend an identification camp at Trinity Western in a few weeks, as well as another ID camp at Ambrose University in Calgary.
Wergeland averaged 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists this past season.