MKMBA NXT Level Basketball made the trip to bballnationals, in Langley, all the way from Moncton, New Brunswick. The team travelled the farthest, and showed up to the tournament ready to play and backed by their community’s support.
“Being a big club basketball fan and advocate, [bballnationals] was such a great opportunity for the girls,” said Head Coach Troy Mackenzie, “so after we decided to commit to going to the tournament, we knew we had to create some funds to get there.”
Team parents and players began organizing fundraising events to raise money to cover the cost of the trip. The events helped the team work together off the court, “it was a lot of team bonding,” player Brinly Holt said of the events they planned, “the activities were really fun to do.”
NXT Level hosted an eight team tournament, sold raffle tickets for a pre-paid visa card, hosted fitness boot camps for the community, in a local park, and ran a bottle drive, all to try and raise the money they needed to attend Nationals.
But when the girls fell just short of what they needed, the community stepped in to make up the difference.
“A lot of people in the community heard about the opportunity and wanted to help,” Mackenzie said, “there were three main basketball advocates in the community that led the charge and started reaching out to some local businesses.”
In total the team raised 15 thousand dollars to cover the various costs that come with travelling across the country. The money went toward flights, food for the team, rentals, gas, and they even budgeted a little extra to do some sightseeing.
bballnationals allows teams from across the country to play against each other, something that doesn’t happen in teams’ regular seasons. NXT Level is “really limited to seeing teams on the east coast,” most of which include Montreal, some Ontario teams, P.E.I, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and some teams in the U.S.
Everything worked out extremely well for the Moncton team, but not everyone on team was able to travel. In an exhibition game, played before they left, an injury took their starting point guard out of the game, “we’re really sad that she’s not here, Mackenzie said, but the team’s using the injury as extra motivation to play hard, “we want to show her that we’re still thinking about her because she was a big part of what we were doing.”
The team made it to the tournament, happening this weekend at the Langley Events Centre, but they aren’t done yet. The girls were “very thankful and humbled” for all of the community’s support, the coach said, “almost every girl came to me and asked what they could do to give back.”
Giving back is exactly what the team plans to do when they return home from their trip, “something is in the works, whether it’s through the basketball avenue, or not, we will definitely be doing something for the community.”
The team currently has a 3-1 record, and is excited to do some exploring when they finish tournament play on Saturday. “We’re heading to the Capilano suspension bridge,” Coach Mackenzie said, “we’ll have a good meal, and then rest up in preparation for Sunday.”
Written by: Sarah Reid