Varsity Girls Basketball Wins Game in Play for Preemies Showcase

Recently winning 49-24 over William Byrd


Credit: Emmy Franklin

The Play for Preemies showcase is held annually.

Maria Kinnan, Staff Writer

The Play for Preemies Showcase is an annual charity event played by all-girls varsity basketball teams across the region. The showcase, held on the first Saturday in January, raises money for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Roanoke and the University of Virginia.  The NICU is a hospital unit that takes care of babies who are sick or were born prematurely. 

For Kris Wright, the girls’ varsity coach at Western, it is a very important event. “[My family] started it because all of [my] children were preemies,” Wright said.  “Preemies” are premature babies, or babies born early, before the 37th week of pregnancy.

The showcase has been going on since 2017, but initially started out as benefit games donating money to the March for Babies. Wright says the sponsors of the showcase, Crozet Pediatric Dentistry, Jim Price Kia, and others, have been a huge help in raising funds to donate. “A big reason we’re able to raise so much money [is because] the sponsors have been great.” Wright said. This year the showcase made between $6,500 and $7,100, which makes the total in the showcase’s history around $38,000.

McLean Stokes, a player on the varsity team, has been playing in the showcase for the past two seasons.  “Our team played great. Everyone played and contributed which helped lead to our victory” 

“To be able to support the NICUs while playing a sport I love makes me even more passionate about the event and the cause I’m playing for.” Stokes says. The showcase runs very smoothly, with twelve teams participating and six games played throughout the whole day. “My favorite part of the tournament is getting to wear the custom uniforms our coach surprised us with last year,” says Stokes. “They have the tournament logo on them and [it] makes everything more special.”

Wright says that they are working on spreading awareness of the event within the surrounding Western community, so more people attend the games and raise more money for the NICUs. “We are kicking around ideas and are open to suggestions.”