Seeking to purchase new athletic equipment and fund trips to multiple tournaments, the Van Alstyne High School girls basketball team hopes that hard work and public contributions will help get the group to it’s goal.

This season, the Panthers have set their sights on new basketball shoes to be worn during the team’s many games, as well as competing in an upcoming winter tournament in Mississippi. To raise awareness of their campaign and the money needed, Coach Tim Bryant told his players that they themselves would have to put in a lot of effort, both on and off the court.

“The kids know they’ve got to work hard in order to reap the benefits,” Bryant said.

And the young women of the basketball team were indeed hard at work on Saturday, as they operated the “Kid Zone” at Van Alstyne’s annual Fall der All Festival. Getting them closer to their goal, the city’s chamber of commerce rewarded the team with $500 for keeping tabs on the excited children who enjoyed the festival’s bounce houses and inflatable obstacle courses.

Player Madison Reno said that working at the festival was double the fun, as she was able to earn money for her team and enjoy one of her favorite activities.

“Playing with the kids,” Reno said. “I don’t know about you all, but I love playing with the kids.”

The athletes earned additional money at the event by selling large bags of popcorn and encouraging festival-goers to make whatever donations they could.

Parents are also working hard this season to get the girls what they need. Bryant explained that the dedicated parents will work the concession stands during fall league games and earn money from the food sales.

With much of the season still ahead, the Panther basketball team said it was ready to compete and especially looked forward to its out-of-state tournament.

And proving that he was equal parts basketball coach and world studies teacher, Bryant said he hoped to incorporate some educational stops as he and the team make their way to Mississippi.

“We’re going through the Mississippi Delta and I know there are a couple of historical sites along the way,” Bryant said. “The kids probably won’t want to stop, but I may just pull over.”