If there are two words that can describe Katherine Fourie – determined and persistent – could be the ones that fit her.
The seventh grader from Twin Rivers Middle School can also be considered as clutch. Last week, she hit a three-pointer late in the fourth quarter of the 8th grade Gwinnett County championship to help the Bears beat Archer on Friday.
Fourie’s reaction was priceless as she jumped up with joy after hitting the biggest shot of her short basketball career. She finished the game with a team-high 18 points. Winning was fun but doing it the day after her birthday was big.
Fourie, 13, never hesitated on taking the game-leading shot and expected it to go in.
“I had a feeling that it was going to go in,” she said after the game. “I had to do my job.”
Well, Fourie has prepared for a long time to do the job.
She first became interested with basketball as part of the afterschool program at Suwanee Sports Academy. Being introduced to a variety of sports helped give her variety. It was not until the fourth grade, while attending former Georgia standout and Olympian Teresa Edwards’ basketball camp, did Fourie decided to take basketball serious. As her mother, Adriane puts it, “Basketball became more than just fun.”
Fourie’s mother soon had her enrolled in the weekly Skills to Score camp, followed by the then On Court program with SSA’s director of basketball Emmanuel Blackwell.
“He is amazing with the kids,” Adriane Fourie said. “When you get the opportunity to work with him it is really neat to see what he does with the kids.”
Blackwell and Fourie worked on all aspects of her game and looked to make her a complete player. The training sessions would be intense and a lot of times challenging for Fourie but she never stopped working, even through adverse situations.
She broke her right arm and both hands a combination of four times. This did not stop Fourie, who would work on her weakness like left-handed layups or form shooting. There were times she was even benched on teams never really getting into the game, especially last summer on her travel team. This did not stop her.
“She is a student of the game,” Blackwell said. “Katherine works real hard.”
Blackwell has watched her develop and appreciates the commitment Fourie has to the spot. He also admires her willingness to work in understanding the balance between training and just playing.
Fourie also has a confidence that was once shaken through injuries but re-instilled by parents.
“I kept her thinking that this (the injuries) were temporary,” her mother said. “Mentally, she has been kicked down and she thought she would not be able to get back to the level she had because she had lost time. At that point, that’s when we did things with her to keep her confidence up.
“That is the key thing that every child needs. If someone is not as successful as they want to be in a particular are you have to help them be successful. They have to know they can be successful.”
This straight A student’s confidence is on an even keel. She believes in herself and her abilities.
Before the start of this year’s tryouts, Adriane wished her daughter luck before trying out for the Twin Rivers team. Fourie turned to her mother and said, “I don’t need luck. I have skill.”
A humble teenager does not speak those words, but they are words spoken by a person who has worked at their craft.
Robert Alfonso, Jr. is the Associate Editor of HoopSeen.com. He has been covering high school, college and grassroots basketball for the last 16 years. He has also been a High School basketball coach for the past 5 years.