For a young group of middle school athletes, the opportunity to see a Division One team play is exciting in its own right. Add to that, sitting courtside and looking across the gym to see one of the most prolific scorers and, arguably one of the best ever from Pennsylvania and Penn State University women’s basketball, and a two-time WNBA championship player makes it even more thrilling. This is what the following young ladies got to see on Feb. 16th capped off by spending time with Assistant Coach, Kelly Mazzante, after the game!
Lacey Kriebel from South Side, Breanna Bobak Hughesville, Katie Ryder Loyalsock, Bella Mileto, and Sofia Mileto Loyalsock, Jocelyn McCracken Jersey Shore, Joleen Lovley Hughesville, and Emilia Minotti Montoursville, Ellie Brion and Kaylee Graham North Penn Liberty. As part of our Webb Weekly contest, these ladies were treated to a fantastic event. They were the winners chosen to go to Sojka Pavilion to watch Bucknell University play Holy Cross.
It began with a meeting with Jim Webb at his office. Each girl was presented with a Bucknell t-shirt, a badged lanyard with her name on it, and her ticket inside. That’s where the camaraderie began among many who didn’t even know each other as they came from South Williamsport, Loyalsock, Jersey Shore, Liberty, Montoursville, Hughesville, and Muncy.
The van ride to our dinner destination gave the girls their first opportunity to get to know each other. It was easy to hear the excitement as they chatted.
We arrived for dinner, before the game, at Matty’s Sporthouse Grill. The atmosphere here heightened their enthusiasm as all the big-screen TVs in the restaurant had a variety of sports playing. All heads were constantly turning as they talked about all the sports being broadcasted.
Being able to order from the entire menu, it was fun to see the various meals ordered from wings, to burgers, to dinners, to salads — all loving this chance to get whatever they wanted.
Then off to Sojka Pavilion. Bucknell University is beautiful, and for many, it was their first opportunity to be on campus. They discussed where the best seats would be in the gym. Well, once we chose and sat down, we were welcomed with an opportunity to have courtside seats!! Who offered the girls courtside seats?! WOW! The excitement rolled as the girls were right on the court, up close and personal with these Division 1 players! It doesn’t get any better than that!
The game was thrilling, and throughout, the girls were involved in the in-game promos. From shooting baskets in front of the crowd, or catching rubber chickens being slung by a teammate, winning a pizza — the girls were part of it all! Each cheered on the others and their involvement was terrific.
Bucknell prevailed, and now it was time to meet with Kelly Mazzante. Mazzante was gracious and friendly, entertaining questions, taking selfies, signing their t-shirts, introducing the girls to the Bucknell players, and taking pictures with them as well. Kelly has always distinguished herself as a strong mentor, proven that she gives back to our youth, always remembering where she came from. The girls were thrilled to have this opportunity and were very enamored by Kelly’s friendly demeanor and positive approach to all questions posed. It was good for the girls to see how much is involved in being a well-rounded person, not one dimensional. Thank you, Kelly!
When it was time to leave, they knew it was an evening; they would never forget. The van trip home was a recount of all that happened! Since that night, I have been approached by many of their family members who thanked me for this opportunity. I was happy to chaperone along with Katie McKibben-Lloyd, but it was the vision of Jim Webb that made this come to fruition. What a great opportunity that will be memorable for sure! One these girls will talk about for years to come!
Congrats to all!
(Editor’s Note: I just want to thank Maz for coming in with the last-minute assist for this story. Jimmy really wanted to make sure everyone got the details of the girls’ amazing night out! Unfortunately, Jimmy is down with the flu and wasn’t able to get his story together this week. So, thanks again, Maz, for helping us out! ~ Steph)