Though the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put the brakes on the high-school basketball season, Semiahmoo Secondary found a way to honour three of its own hoops stars – all of whom are bound for the NCAA ranks.
Earlier this month, the South Surrey school’s athletic department held an official signing event for Deja Lee, Izzy Forsyth and Tara Wallack – each of whom committed to their respective university programs earlier this year.
All three are members of the Semiahmoo Totems’ senior girls basketball team that has won back-to-back provincial championships.
Lee committed to the University of California Irvine in late March, and Forsyth announced her commitment to the University of California San Diego a few weeks later, in early April. Then, in late May, Wallack became the third member of the squad to announce her NCAA intentions, choosing Washington State University.
The trio brings to four the number of players from the Totems’ team to commit to an NCAA school. Faith Dut, who was a member of the team’s 2019 provincial championship-winning team before graduating, currently plays for the University of Florida.
Though everyone needed to stay socially distanced, among other COVID-19 safety protocols that were in place, the Nov. 12 event, which was held in the school’s gym, included all the trappings of a typical signing day; each player wore a hoodie emblazoned with her new team’s name and sat at a table decked out in school colours and logos.
Semiahmoo Secondary teacher Lori Pajic, who is a co-coach of the senior girls team, called the event “a great day for Semiahmoo athletics.”
After Wallack committed to WSU, Semiahmoo Totems coach Allison McNeill – who was a longtime coach at Simon Fraser University and the Canadian national women’s team – told Peace Arch News that she could not remember a B.C. high-school team with three NCAA-signed recruits on it at once – four if you include Dut.
“It’s quite shocking, when you think about it,” McNeill said at the time.