There were plenty of tears following a dramatic 57-56 loss for the Swift Current Comp. Ardens to the visiting North Battleford Comp. Vikings Thursday. But the tears had nothing to do with missed free throws or untimely turnovers in the final minute. They were the product of a group of high school girls who banded together to raise money for the family of a former member of the Ardens Basketball program.
After a wildly entertaining basketball game, the Ardens turned over a cheque for over $13,000 to the family of the late Rena Best. Best recently lost her battle with stage four colon cancer, leaving behind a husband and two young kids. The Ardens raised money through a variety of fundraising efforts to contribute to the kids’ trust fund.
The family was on hand for the game, including her husband Kelly.
“I thought my wife’s spirit was going to lift the girls up to get the victory. It was just tremendous. It touches you in your heart. The continued love and support from everybody has been overwhelming to be honest with you,” he said after the game.
“It all helps,” he said of the financial contribution from the Ardens. “My wife isn’t going to be here for the next 10 years to help them through college. Every little bit helps and it is so appreciated.”
The Nelson family had the opportunity to meet the Ardens and enjoyed watching them take on the Vikings. His daughter even took warm-ups with the Ardens and sat on the bench during the game.
“It was great. They told me they lost to this team by 10 points and 20 points in two previous games. They were giving it their all,” said Nelson.
Senior Katie Braun was one of the top performers on the court for the Ardens and also helped spearhead the fundraising effort.
“It felt awesome. I am so appreciative of what I have and I am glad I could give back to a family. We worked really hard on it, so I am glad it ended up really great,” said the 5’2’’ guard.
“We had a ton of support from the school. We had a lot of fundraisers and they were really helpful with everything. The community was amazing with everything too. The total we made in the raffle was crazy. We had tons of support in the community and from businesses,” she added.
The Ardens got out to a slow start in front of a near-capacity crowd, but worked their way back into the game.
“I think we had a really good game. I think our shots were not falling. I think we played really good. We had really good O [offense], we had really good D [defense], just a tough loss,” said Braun.
The Ardens will quickly shift their attention to the provincial playoffs.
“We have been shooting a lot in the mornings and preparing a lot for our upcoming games. We have our game faces on and we are ready. We are all aiming to be provincial bound and we are working really hard to get there,” said Braun.