Despite being in the early stages of her basketball career, Quinn Dornstauder’s game has flourished on international courts.
The 17-year-old LeBoldus student played an integral role on Team Canada when it travelled to Amsterdam in early September to compete in the International Basketball Federation World Basketball Championship, where Canada’s under-17 cadette team brought home a bronze medal.
“It was really exciting, especially to think that you are meeting all these different people from everywhere,” Dornstauder said. “We had people from B.C. all the way to Newfoundland. It was cool.”
Dornstauder started playing basketball when she was in Grade 3. Her interest in the game took off when her family moved to France when she was 14 years old. Once there, she really got a chance to work on the fundamentals of her game and gained confidence in herself.
“It was a totally different game there,” she recalled. “It was my first year where I had to make a team and it was a really fun atmosphere.”
The improvement was quickly noted.
“Two years ago, we got back and all of a sudden, there was Quinn, a starter on the varsity team,” said Gord Dornstauder, Quinn’s father.
Her time in France paid off in the form of an invite to a Canada Basketball tryout camp in Toronto in late July.
“Once I got the email, I only had a month to prepare, so I went into panic mode,” Dornstauder said. “I definitely had to get myself into shape, so I started running and started to work on my shot.”
Dornstauder’s hard work earned her a spot on the team following the threeweek camp.
“I was kind of in a state of shock. It took a little bit to sink in,” she said. “About an hour later, that’s when it finally hit me like, ‘Oh my gosh, I just made Team Canada.’ “
In the process, she impressed Canadian head coach Carly Clarke.
“Quinn has the athletic ability and length that is a rarity for someone her size,” Clarke said. “She can jump really well and has good basketball instincts.”
Dornstauder and Team Canada practised twice a day for two weeks straight and then travelled to Belgium for two exhibition games. After that, they were off to Amsterdam.
“There is going to be nerves in any situation like that, so I was kind of nervous, but really excited,” Dornstauder said. “I was more excited than nervous, I think.
“It was really exciting to see how you match up against other countries and styles of basketball.”
Team Canada stumbled out of the gate, suffering losses to the United States and Italy, but bounced back with victories against Belgium, Korea and Mali. Following a win against the Netherlands and another loss to the United States in the semi-finals, Canada faced a tough Japan team in the bronze-medal game. Despite an 11-point halftime deficit, Canada prevailed 84-77.
As a 6-foot-3 centre, Dornstauder played a solid 12 minutes in the second half and contributed six points along with nine rebounds and three blocked shots. It was her best game statistically.
Dornstauder finished the tournament fourth overall in rebounds per 40-minute game and was also a force in terms of shot blocking.
“When I got in, I think I did all right,” she recalled. “I think I contributed when I got in. The focus for us was to be fast, so that was always was one of my focuses – to get down the court fast and to out-rebound and play defence.”
Clarke took note of Dornstauder’s steady improvement.
“The tournament is long and gruelling and full of ups and downs, but you could see her get more comfortable playing on the international stage,” Clarke said. “She just has the ability to change the game and it was fun to watch her grow.”
With all the excitement of winning bronze now in the past, Dornstauder’s focus is now on playing volleyball – and then basketball – with the LeBoldus Golden Suns. She hopes to apply the lessons she learned in Amsterdam.
“Since the whole beginning, I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a person,” Dornstauder said. “This has forced me to work hard and be the best that I can be.”