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It's a traveling frenzy for Sailors

December 26, 2006|By Tanya Lyon

Been dreaming of a white Christmas? The Newport Harbor High girls' basketball team didn't need to this year.

Instead the girls are dreaming of the sun and waves. That's because the Newport Harbor girls' team left today for a trip to the big island of Hawaii for the World Youth Basketball Tournament 2006 Holiday Edition in Kona.

The tournament runs today through the New Year but you won't hear these basketball players complaining.

For the girls, the trip represents their longest since their travel to Alaska three years ago.

"I decided it could be something that would be fun," said Newport Harbor Coach Jen Thompson. "We went to Alaska about four years ago with the boys' team, so I thought we've done the cold, why not do the hot?"

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The decision to take a longer road trip was an instant hit with the team.

"They were more excited I think about just going to Hawaii than actually playing basketball," said Thompson laughing. "But I did tell them we're going there for a purpose, a reason, not just to lay out and go snorkeling."

Senior Brittany Deyan was with the team when they went to Alaska and believes the trip to Hawaii has been a big motivator to the team thus far.

"We're a lot more excited I think definitely [to go to Hawaii] but it's still the same focus to win."

Oh, really?

It's hard to believe that a group of high school girls would be focused on basketball while in the popular vacation spot of Kona, Hawaii.

"Well, that's a good answer," said Deyan laughing.

The girls raised the funds for the trip by selling ads in its team program and freshman Lindsay Anderson admitted that selling the ads was easier knowing where the team was headed.

"It totally made a difference on where we were going," said Anderson laughing.

The trip has also become a family affair for four of the athletes as some parents have taken the opportunity to tag along with the team.

"This was an opportunity for us to go and support our younger daughter in her sport as well. Plus, why not go to Hawaii for Christmas?" said Teri Blackledge, one of the four pairs of parents who will make the trip as well.

But, while the athletes are looking forward to the trip for the obvious reasons of sun and fun, they are also looking forward to spending time with their teammates.

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