Forjan takes her game to next level
Personal goals aren’t the main focus of successful athletes.
With proper perspective, however, they can serve as motivation, while also boosting the athlete's overall play and value to the team.
Coming oh-so-close to those goals can often light a spark, one that pushes them even harder.
Such was the case for former York Catholic girls’ basketball player Rachel Forjan.
Coming close: Forjan, now a senior at Elizabethtown College, finished her high school hoops career with 997 points, just shy of the coveted 1,000-point club. During her time with the Irish, the 2012 grad won four straight District 3-AA titles and the York-Adams crown during her senior year.
While achieving that sort of success at the prep level wasn’t an easy feat, Forjan knew having any success at the collegiate level, much less hitting the 1,000-point benchmark, would be that much harder.
But, to her merits, she has adjusted well over the years and has found what it takes to bring closure to some unfinished business.
“I think I have grown into a more complete player in college,” Forjan said. “Being so close to the 1,000-point mark in high school gave me more motivation to not fall short in college. I've worked very hard the past four years to be a threat in all categories of the game.”
Earlier this season, during a Dec. 12 home game against Merchant Marine, Forjan was able to make the milestone goal a reality. She is now the 25th player in program history to have gone over the 1,000-point barrier.
Late in the third quarter, as the shot clock was winding down, Forjan got the ball and took a dribble to her right to shake the defender. She then nailed a pull-up jumper from the right elbow to reach the career plateau.
“I had a lot of support that night, and when I made the shot, the entire gym cheered,” Forjan said. “It was like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I was so relieved when it happened. My teammates were so happy for me and I was surrounded by their hugs.”
The Blue Jays went on to win, 56-36, with Forjan scoring eight points.
Stepping up her game: Forjan says she committed to working on all aspects of her game, as well as being a leader at the collegiate level. The results have certainly shown.
More specifically, Elizabethtown interim head women’s coach Veronica Nolt says Forjan became more offensively efficient thanks to a focus on a quicker shooting release and added accuracy in her jump shot.
Countless hours fine tuning her mechanics and gains in strength and conditioning have also helped Fojran raise her play, Nolt said.
“Rachel has a tremendous basketball IQ,” Nolt said. “She is intense and is fully invested in practices and games because of her tremendous desire to succeed.”
The coach also noted Forjan’s progression on the defensive end thanks to a concentration on better positioning and communication.
The Blue Jays got off to a 6-2 start on the season before the new year saw a recent slide. Elizabethtown currently holds an 8-5 overall record with a 4-3 mark in the Landmark Conference.
“Rachel, as well as her fellow captain, Alyssa Aichele, have worked to build a great team culture within our program,” Nolt said. “As a result, we are able to play at a higher level because of our team chemistry.”
Entering play Wednesday night, Forjan was the team leader in points per game at 14.9. That average is also fourth in the Landmark Conference coming into Wednesday night.
She also is second in assists (31), has the best free-throw percentage on the team at 83.9 (26 of 31) and leads the team in minutes per game (33.8).
Relying on her roots: Forjan gained a sense of confidence in her game during her days at York Catholic, thanks to learning early on that on successful teams, talent trumps seniority.
If she played to her abilities, the rest would take care of itself.
“This mindset helped me have confidence in my game going into college. I was a shy and scared freshman in college, but because I had this attitude, I was not scared on the court,” she said.
Forjan also credits Irish coach Kevin Bankos for challenging her to become a better player. She expresses great appreciation for his constant encouragement and support, even after her playing days at York Catholic.
She posted a career-high 27 points in a 68-54 win at Lebanon Valley College on Nov. 17, a game she regards among the highlights of her career with the Blue Jays.
The senior majoring in business administration led the Blue Jays to a 65-50 home victory vs. Drew on Wednesday night by nearly besting that mark. Forjan poured in a game-high 24 points, draining 9 of her 19 attempts from the field, including a sharp 6 of 9 from beyond the arc.
It was just another strong outing in a season full of them for Forjan.
Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org.