Hard work pays off for Orlando-bound Lady Vikes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 12, 2001

[07/12/01] Long summer days spent popping popcorn, sweeping the gym and playing a whirlwind schedule will pay off for a group of Warren County basketball players this weekend.

Warren County AAU, made up of Warren Central players, is going to Orlando, Fla., for Monday’s WNBA All-Star game and, of course, a trip to Walt Disney World.

Last year, the AAU team went to a regular-season game in Houston, which included a behind-the-scenes look at the four-time world champion Comets and former Ole Miss coach Van Chancellor, a friend and former colleague of Warren Central coach Donny Fuller’s.

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This year, Fuller wanted a little more for his team than just one game with two teams.

“We originally were going to see the Orlando Miracle, but I got on the national AAU website and saw they had 1,500 tickets to the WNBA All-Star game for sale,” Fuller said. “I called in the seniors, because they have a voice in our program, and asked them if they’d rather sit here for the Miracle game or up here for the all-star game.

“They said, Coach, that’s a no-brainer. They are the best in the world.’ ”

Starting shortly after school ended in May, the WC team worked a food booth at a flea market in Vicksburg. They then helped host two state tournaments in four age groups and the Warren County Invitational.

Players worked as ticket collectors, concession stand workers, scorekeepers and scoreboard operators to keep overhead costs down.

“Last year on the way back from Houston, they said next year they wanted to go somewhere else,” Fuller said. “I think it was Lamika (Miller) who said they wanted to go to Orlando.

“I told them if you raise Orlando money, we’ll go to Orlando.”

In addition to the all-star game, Fuller said the team will go to Water Mania, Disney World and hope to get to a large outlet mall in the city.

Fuller, along with assistant coach Martha Pharr and her assistant Diane Yarbro, will leave Friday night in two 15-passenger vans. The all-star game is scheduled for Sunday.

“It’s going to be so fun,” Miller said. “We get to see a lot of different people play.

“We had to raise the money and work hard, though.”

Each player had to pay a minimal amount for the trip, but most of the cost for the hotel, travel and entertainment is covered with the money raised during the summer.

Warren County went 14-7 in June. Both the 17-under and 14-under Warren County teams will be making the trip.

“It stresses to these kids to work hard for something,” Fuller said. “That’s one thing I don’t think we do a good enough job of in education, and that’s teaching them to work for something. I think they appreciate it more.”