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Girls Basketball: 'Reppin' for Reynolds'

Willmar girls basketball head coach Dustin Carlson, in a "Jumpers for Jenna" t-shirt, directs his offense during the Cardinals' Section 5AAA semifinals game against Zimmerman on March 5, 2016 in Buffalo. Tom Larson / Tribune.1 / 2
Willmar Cardinals players, clad in "Jumpers for Jenna" t-shirts, gather during a timeout in a Section 5AAA semifinals game against Zimmerman on March 5, 2016 at Buffalo High School. Tom Larson / Tribune.2 / 2

The Willmar girls' basketball team is winning off the court, as well as on it.

To support a local family affected by cancer, the Cardinals will hold "Trash Cancer Night" for their game against Rocori tonight at the Willmar High School gym.

Jenna Reynolds, a sixth grade student, was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor just months after her mother, Brenda, was diagnosed with cancer over the summer. According to Willmar head coach Dustin Carlson, it was Brenda's 13th time being diagnosed.

Many of the Cardinals knew Jenna from youth basketball camps and a t-shirt sale to raise money for her last season, so the team didn't have to think twice about doing what they could.

In March 2016, the team sponsored the "Jumpers for Jenna" fundraiser prior to her surgery at the Mayo Clinic to remove a brain tumor.

"(Jenna's) mom was diagnosed this summer with cancer and we started thinking about them again," Carlson said. "Then, Jenna started having some vision issues this year as a sixth grader and then was diagnosed once again, so we decided we wanted to do something again."

Students can purchase garbage bags for $1 to decorate and wear at the game, while others are encouraged to buy a box of 80 bags for $20. The Cardinals will also be selling green t-shirts with the words "Reppin' for Reynolds" across the front for $20.

All proceeds will go to the Reynolds family to directly help offset the cost of travel and medical expenses at the Mayo Clinic.

Last season, the Cardinals sold more than 350 shirts to support the Reynolds family and local businesses donated money for each basket the Cardinals made in a March 5, 2016 section playoff game.

"A year ago, Jenna got to come watch a game," Carlson said. "It was the first time out of the hospital to really go do anything other than just go home. That was pretty special for our kids to be a part of that, and that was a pretty neat deal. That's where it kind of started last year."

The team had sold 90 shirts in two days as of Thursday afternoon and expects that total to rise, anticipating a large crowd at the game.

"The student council is going to have a dance after the game and send some of the money from the dance to the family, as well," Carlson said. "The pep band is playing, and that always brings a big crowd of kids and parents."

Carlson said Jenna and Brenda are expected to be in attendance, as well a large contingent from the extended Reynolds family.

Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. as Willmar looks to improve to 7-3 in Central Lakes Conference play and 11-8 overall.

Curt Hogg

Curt Hogg is a sports reporter at the West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minnesota. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016. 

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