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Basketball and books: 3-on-3 tourney set for March 14

(From left): Ellsworth High School students Nadia Sigler, David “Wes” Caldwell and Mackenzie Kummer are working together to host a 3-on-3 basketball tournament Tuesday, March 14 at EHS to raise money for a Books For Africa service learning project. Olivia Lynner and Masen Bach are not pictured. (Herald photo by Sarah Young)

ELLSWORTH -- Sending books to the African country of Lesotho costs a lot of money — probably more than you'd think.

That's where a fundraising brainstorm from Ellsworth High School sophomores comes in.

Members of the Just Do It volunteer organization invite the public to dust off their basketball skills and enter a 3-on-3 basketball tournament at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, at Ellsworth High School.

David "Wes" Caldwell, Olivia Lynner, Nadia Sigler, Mackenzie Kummer and Masen Bach are organizing the tourney to raise money for a Books For Africa service learning project. All proceeds will go toward shipping the books to Lesotho, a tiny landlocked country surrounded by South Africa where schools are "bereft" of books, said teacher Anne Pechacek. The Lesotho schools have a shortage of textbooks, so books that would otherwise be recycled, such as those left over from last year's book fair, will be donated.

"Postage is spendy," Pechacek said. "We're guessing over $1,000 minimum."

The school already has plenty of books to send, but needs the money for postage. The group would like to raise at least $500 toward the costs.

"We'll see how much the first shipment costs going out," Pechacek said. "Maybe we'll collect more books next year if all goes well."

Caldwell said it was easy to decide on a basketball fundraiser.

"I play basketball and I think it's really fun," Caldwell said. "So why not do what I love to do?"

His co-planners agreed with him. They hope it becomes an annual event. The gyms are booked and they're in the process of recruiting business sponsors. Depending on the number of families and community members who sign up, at least six volunteer referees are needed.

How will the tourney work? Teams (with a maximum of four members) are guaranteed two games in double elimination. Each game will be played to 21 points. The family bracket is open to those in fourth grade and older, with a minimum of two kids on the team. The co-ed bracket is for high schoolers and older, male or female, with a maximum of two varsity-level players on each team. Each team must have at least one male and one female player. Cost is $20 per team or $5 per person.

Registration is due by Friday, March 3, so brackets can be drawn up over the district's spring break.

For more information or to volunteer as a referee or sponsor, email Caldwell at, Lynner at or Pechacek at Checks can be made payable to EHS.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in February 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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