Milestone more than a number for Faith Christian’s Forker

EAST ROCKHILL >> It was Ashley Forker’s night, but if it had been up to her, it would have been just like any other game.

The Faith Christian Academy senior scored her 1,000th point last Tuesday, becoming just the fourth girls player to reach the milestone for the school. She’s also closing in on the all-time girls scoring record and Monday night, the Lions held a brief pregame ceremony to honor Forker for the accomplishment.

It’s just not her nature to be the one under the spotlight.

“I’ve never been the person who likes the center of attention on me, honestly, it’s never felt right because I know I can’t do this on my own,” Forker said after Monday’s 45-33 win over Sacred Heart. “God has reminded me that basketball isn’t who I am, but it is something I can do to glorify Him and love my team through. I’m more of a deflector and love when other people are doing something great.”

Forker is more than just a volume scorer, she’s a complete player in every aspect of the game and that more than anything is what she takes pride in. Monday, the senior scored 23 points, pulled in 13 rebounds, handed out four assists, forced five steals and blocked three shots.

When her team needs her to, she steps up and takes over games but Forker will say that her favorite thing to do on a court is create for others. Given her nature, Forker said she wasn’t trying to get to 1,000 or keeping tabs of it through her four years as a varsity player for FCA.

Going into last Tuesday’s game, she knew she was close but was still a little surprised when the game stopped after the basket that put her at the milestone number. Her first thought wasn’t about what she had just done, but who had helped her along the way.

“I thought it was pretty cool, not because you scored 1,000 points or because you get your name on a banner but because there are five seniors on this team and those girls have been with me every step of the way,” Forker said. “I think of all the memories we’ve made together and that was the most special thing to me about it.”

Dean Reiman, President/Coach of Lehigh Valley Fever AAU Girls Basketball, gives an award to Faith Christian’s Ashley Forker (left) for reaching 1,000 points before the Lions’ game against Sacred Heart on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. (Debby High For Digital First Media)

Forker cites four major influences on her basketball career. Her faith, her family, her teammates and her AAU coach, Dean Reiman of Lehigh Valley Fever, have all been instrumental. Her father, Dave Forker, is also her high school coach at Faith Christian.

That Forker is even on the court this season is a testament to her devotion to her teammates, especially the four other seniors on the squad. She’s playing with a torn labrum that will require surgery after the season and which has already cost her about six games this year.

“It says everything,” Dave Forker said. “The tear can get worse but she wants to try and play through the season and have the surgery once the season is over. She plays for her teammates, she plays for her savior, it’s just another sacrifice but it’s one she wouldn’t even think twice about.”

Prior to Ashley missing time with injury, Dave Forker said she was on pace to record 800 rebounds, 500 assists, 250 steals and 100 blocked shots for her career, highlighting the all-around mark she can have on a game.

Faith Christian has been a solid program in her four years, making the district playoffs the last three years and winning a District 1-A title two seasons ago. With three A teams making states this year, there’s a good chance the Lions (11-7, 6-4 BAL Independence) can do it again. When asked what she hoped to accomplish for the rest of the season, Forker’s answer was in regards to fellow senior Liz Hoffman, who has missed all of the season so far with a foot injury.

“We want to get Liz back on the court, even if it’s just for one game,” Forker said.

During the summer between her sophomore and junior year, Forker had an ACL injury that made her think about how much she really loved basketball and if she wanted to keep playing. She started looking into mission work, going somewhere and helping people with far less but her faith told her to make the most out of her ability in basketball. Everything else could wait, but she wouldn’t have another chance to play with this group of girls again.

That’s why she goes out each night, her shoulder in a brace, and competes. She’s also a leader for her teammates, communicating on defense and offering a clap or a few words of encouragement if someone misses a shot or turns the ball over.

“Bloom where you’re planted, that sort of idea to make the most of where you are right now,” Forker said.

Faith Christian’s Ashley Forker rises to take a shot against Sacred Heart during their game on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. (Debby High/For Digital First Media)

Her two coaches have each had their own way of shaping Forker on and off the court. Reiman, her AAU coach, instilled a desire to be the hardest worker she could be. Forker admitted that sometimes she would settle or go along with the flow.

“He really impressed upon me that ‘you have this gifts, kid, use them,’” Forker said. “He’s taught me so much about the game. A lot of the terms I use, I use them because of him.”

With her dad, it’s a constant supply of encouragement and love. They don’t clash a lot.

“I’m not a very easy child, and he coaches our team so as much as I can get frustrated, I know it’s because he loves me,” Forker said. “He wants me to get the best out of what I can and not regret anything.”

Forker is hoping to play in college, though has not yet signed anywhere and her impending surgery has complicated things a little bit. She has been in contact with a number of schools and is very interested in The Master’s University, a small Christian University in California that competes at the NAIA level.

There’s still a lot to accomplish this season though, and for as much as Forker’s teammates look to her and urge her on when it’s time to take over a game, she’s drawn as much inspiration from them.

“We’ve been hit with so much adversity this year and usually when we get punched, we let it hurt us and we stay down,” Forker said. “This time, we attacked right back and that has made some of my favorite moments, seeing us still push on and support each other.”

Top Photo: Faith Christian’s Ashley Forker focuses on a teammate during the Lions’ game against Sacred Heart on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. (Debby High/For Digital First Media)

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