To prepare for their second trip to the national championship tournament, members of the Prince William Virginians, a local basketball team, have been practicing their lay-ups and doing drills working on fundamental skills.
But it’s not just all hard work.
Sometimes they still squeeze in sleepover.
The team, part of Prince William County’s Amateur Athletic Union, is made up of 10 girls, mostly 11- and 12-year-olds.
The girls are currently preparing for their trip to the National championship in New Orleans.
“It’s pretty exciting to go to nationals because you get to play with all these girls from all over the country,” said Tori Oliver, 11.
To prepare for the tournament, the girls have been practicing “extra hard,” they said, and doing some fundraising to help offset the cost of the trip to parents.
The girls typically practice twice a week, at the Ferlazzo building or at various high schools in the area.
Last year, the team placed 25th in the national tournament held in Orlando.
“We did OK last year for going for our first time,” said Tykera Carter, 11. “I was kind of nervous because of the traveling and competing against all of the other teams. But now I’m used to it, so I think we’ll do better.”
The girls said being on the AAU team challenging, but also rewarding.
“It’s fun and you make a lot of friends. You also learn a lot. Being on this team you learn a lot of the fundamentals you wouldn’t learn just being on your school team,” 11-year-old Natalie Wright said.
The girls’ coaches and parents said they’d like to see more area girls try out for the AAU team.
“It’s a good experience for them. It’s not just about winning, but it’s about developing camaraderie and making friends for them,” said Ryan White, whose daughter is on the team.
The team will compete in the national championship tournament in New Orleans from June 29 to July 7.