The Swift Current Comp. Senior Ardens basketball team are making an impact in the community both on and off the court this season.
The Ardens are amongst the top high school girls basketball teams in the province. They are also doing their best to give back off the court. Their efforts will be showcased this week when they host the Pink Game in an effort to help the fight against cancer.
The Pink Game will raise money for the Oncology Department at the Cypress Regional Hospital in Swift Current.
“We are going to be raising money in as many ways as we can. We’ve got some raffles and maybe some of the middle schools are going to do some fundraisers, and so much more,” explained fourth-year Arden Makayla Fleischfresser.
The Ardens will be hosting Regina’s Winston Knoll Wolverines on Thursday, February 16. The game will have concessions, tee shirts for sale, and raffles as a part of the fundraising effort. The tradition of students and teachers getting their heads shaved at halftime will also continue.
The organization of the game and fundraising efforts are a player led initiative.
“It’s definitely more work than I thought it would be,” said Fleischfresser. “But it’s nice to be able to do this while I’m young so that it’s a skill that I can carry on later in life. Everyone on the team has been super helpful and [coach Andrew] Herrick has been super supportive in helping us do what we do struggle with doing. It’s not as easy as I thought it was going to be, just a breeze to do, but it’s not.”
“It’s been a really good bonding moment for all of us to work together to go and see all the companies to try and get them to donate. That’s been good,” added grade 12 Grace Thierman. “It’s been harder to find a sponsor, but everyone donates or wants to donate little things for the raffle table, so that’s good.”
The Ardens are hoping for a packed house at the Swift Current Comp. Gymnasium next week.
“I think it’s just a really good community thing just to bring everybody together to raise money for the hospital. Usually, the last one we had so many people showed up, the stands were packed, so that’s pretty exciting,” said Thierman.
The Ardens last held the Pink Game in 2019 when they raised over $15,000 for a local family fighting cancer. Both Thierman and Fleischfresser were in the crowd when the Ardens defeated the Regina Campbell Tartans 65-52 four years ago.
“When I was in grade eight it was a huge deal because we were in middle school and we looked up to the girls. That’s why we go into middle schools this year because we know that they look up to us and it’s a big deal for us to be at those middle schools. I went and helped at a practice at Fairview today just because I know they look up to us,” explained Fleischfresser.
Thierman was in the stands with a sign at the most recent Pink Game in 2019. “Yeah I’ve always wanted to do the Pink Game. It’s just been a thing that the school always does. Just to see it in the gym and have everybody want to show up and support the Ardens is a really big thing for this,” she said.
The Ardens are off to another strong start this season, led by their stifling defense and a deep roster.
“Our defense is pretty solid, we hold teams at a certain point range I think. We just have to work on getting to the rim a bit more and having our shots fall,” said Thierman.
“It’s good. We’ve definitely got things that we can improve on for sure,” said Fleischfresser. “We are working everyday. This past weekend we’ve seen the most improvement yet this season in one weekend. We saw more difficult teams and we saw more pressure. We saw bigger bigs for me specifically. It was harder and it was good for us because we learned lots of stuff we needed to.”
The Ardens narrowly missed out on a medal at Hoopla last season and they appear to be serious medal contenders again in 2023.
“We kind of just take it one game at a time and then just focus on what’s ahead of us, always having that end goal of Hoopla in mind. It’s just one game at a time and take it slow and work on what we need to work on in the moment,” said Thierman.
Admission for the Pink Game will be $10 for adults and $5 for ages 18 and under. The pregame festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. and tip-off is slated for 6:30 p.m.