Haylee Andre plays three sports for White Pine High School, but her favorite has to be basketball. As a member of the varsity Ladycats basketball team for the school, Andre is already used to playing at a high level, but come this summer, she will have the opportunity to show her skills against athletes from around the county.
Andre was selected as one of 108 athletes from across the United States and Australia to participate in the 20th Annual Down Under Hoops Classic Tournament, an invite only basketball camp and competition held on the island continent of Australia.
When the sophomore found out, she could hardly contain her enthusiasm.
“I’m super excited,” Andre said. “When I am older I want to continue to play basketball in college so I think this is a great opportunity to show them what I can do.”
But Andre isn’t the only one excited to see her get a once in a lifetime chance to travel the world playing sports. Her mother Mandy Marques called the trip an “awesome opportunity” for her daughter, one that she hopes the local community will help support.
“She came home with a letter from the school. When we opened it it was really exciting,” Marques said. “We will be doing some fund raisers to try and raise enough money for her to go on the trip.”
Marques has already started a 5o/50 raffle that will run through June 6 to help come up with the estimated $6,000 cost for the trip. She has more ideas like an Indian taco sale to try and raise money but said that she hasn’t set a date for one yet.
The week long camp and tournament runs from July 13-21 and incorporates three individual teams separated into four conferences. Each team will be composed of nine athletes and only have two practices to “learn a challenging, Olympic style of play” according to the program’s website www.downundersports.com.
The program’s itinerary includes more than just basketball however. Athletes flown in from the United States will be given a free day to explore some of the fun Australian activities available, including visiting the Great Barrier Reef or going surfing.But the real reason for the trip is to improve the athletes skills on the court and have them work with different talented players of their own age to form a team.
According to the Head Coach of the USA Conference Team Savannah Oeltjen, the mash-up of players can make for some interesting games.
“The 2014 games were very entertaining for the spectators, as teams were well matched in quality and talent,” Oeltjen said.
Andree has had a breakout season with the Ladycats this year, helping the team win their division and enter the state tournament as a number one seed.
“It’s been a really good year for me, but I worked really hard to get here,” Andree said.
For more information on how to help raise money for Andree to attend the Down Under Hoops Classic this summer, call Toni Edmo at 775-296-2930 or Mandy Marques at 775-296-1874.