Fourteen year olds Heidi and Courtney Smith aren’t your average twin sisters. These young basketball players' lives are about schedules, limited off-days, and dedication.
The Dakota Collegiate students represented Team Manitoba at the Jr. NBA Global Championship Canada Regional Finals in Toronto back in June. The best male and female clubs play for their province for a chance to fly to Orlando and compete against teams from around the world. Despite not being able to make it past regional finals, the twins still described it as an honour.
“It felt like the work we put in as a team finally paid off,” said Heidi.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, the Smiths discovered their passion for basketball at the age of four. They were inspired by their older sister, Abby, who played for a local basketball team. The twins followed their sister’s footsteps, and they’ve been hooked ever since.
This season they’re playing for three teams: Tap Basketball, 204 Elite, and Big Country Basketball.
Courtney describes what’s kept her wanting to play basketball: “Sometimes the inevitable failure that comes with success isn’t the best feeling in the world, but it always pushes you to be better and work harder for success,”
Every athlete have their ups and downs, and it’s no different for them. There have been times where they felt like giving up. When the going gets tough, they know quitting is an option, but says that there’s no point in it.
“Keep playing even when it’s hard because quitting is useless. You’ve come so far, why quit now?” explained Courtney.
Jon Giesbrecht, their player development coach has been working with them for two and a half years. He credits them for their work ethic and their will to improve. He also commends them for the unselfishness they display on and off the court.
“They have a unique drive to improve and push themselves through adverse situations better than most for their age,” said Giesbrecht. “They genuinely put the team first and it starts with their will to get better and compete.”
The twins agree that they’re very similar personality-wise. But even with their similarities, their styles of play are different from each other. Giesbrecht describes Heidi as a “facilitator”. Her main priority is making plays and setting up her teammates to score. On the other hand, Courtney is a “sharpshooter," always finding a way to get to the basket and creating space for herself.
The twins are inseparable, doing just about anything together. Their unbreakable bond off the court leads to good chemistry on the court. Not to mention, they’ve been playing together for over 10 years! Even with their different roles, Giesbrecht agrees that they still find a way to make it work.
“Something I appreciate about the twins is the close bond that they have and how they compliment each other on and off the court,” said Giesbrecht.
When asked about their accomplishments, Heidi felt that her attainments were small goals she sets for herself to become a better player.
As for their future plans, the two have agreed that playing college basketball and having a successful career overseas is ideal. And of course, if the stars align, they would do it all together.