A night to remember

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald St. Mary Marauders teammates Makylla Vachon, left, and Alyssa Abrametz guard Hannah Walker of the Carlton Crusaders during the “Swish for a Cure” game in January.

While the Carlton Crusaders came away with a victory over the St. Mary Marauders Tuesday night, the outcome of the senior girls’ basketball contest was secondary to the real cause of the evening.

After almost a year of planning, $89,623 was raised for the Prince Albert Victoria Hospital Foundation through the “Swish for a Cure” game that the Marauders hosted in their gym.

“It went far better than we ever expected,” Marauders coach Dwayne Gareau said. “We knew that the turnout would be there, but the amount of donations that came in and the energy that was in our gym that night was something I won’t forget.

“That’s what makes Prince Albert a great place. Everyone comes together for a cause when they know it helps people in our community.”

The funds from the game, which also included a silent auction, bake sale and a halftime performance from local dance studios, will be used towards the purchase of Continuous Ambulatory Delivery Device (CADD) pumps that help cancer patients receive medications during their treatments.

The event received an extra boost as well from Malcolm Jenkins, who matched what the school raised from their fundraising efforts, and a $50,000 donation from Conexus Credit Union.

“To have Conexus pick our event as one that helps local health services means a lot,” Gareau said. 

“The same thing can be said about Malcolm, as he’s someone who is always giving of his time and money to help the community.”

The Marauders, who wore pink jerseys that were paid for by the North Battleford Vikings after they played in their fundraiser game last year, will now pay it forward to the Crusaders.

They will be purchasing Carlton’s uniforms for their cancer fundraiser game next winter against the Melfort Comets.

“It was an amazing event for us to be a part of,” Crusaders coach Kelsey Pearson said. “St. Mary did such a good job of bringing the community together for a cause that I think almost everyone is affected by.

“The night wasn’t about basketball. It was about tackling something together and to see the support they got was amazing.”

Both teams are now preparing to return to the tournament trail over the next month before Carlton hosts the SHSAA 5A girls’ rural regional event on March 15 and 16.

The top two teams from that tournament will then go to Hoopla in Saskatoon the following weekend.