CHICO, Calif. – Amid deadly winter weather and airline meltdowns, flight cancellations are also affecting a basketball team in our area. The Red Bluff High School Girls Basketball Team used an unconventional way to make it to Florida.
“Myself and my assistant coach, we were kind of going to make sure that no matter what, we got over there,” said Varsity Head Coach Julia Brandt.
The team was originally supposed to leave from Sacramento on Spirit Airlines Dec. 26 for the KSA National Holiday Tournament, but their flight was canceled.
Brandt says the flight was scheduled for 6:48 a.m. Monday and they received word of the cancellation 10 p.m. the night before on Christmas. The team already made the trip to Woodland, so they went to the airport the next day, but was unable to find another flight.
The team also checked other airports locally, even considering a drive to Reno or Las Vegas to make it, but there were none available.
“We were all excited and ready to go already, we just wanted to get there,” said Junior post-player for Red Bluff Hannah Stringer. “To have that pulled away from us, that was a bummer, but now that we are able to go, I think that everyone’s going to be really excited and have a great time.”
They found three red-eye flights that left Wednesday night through American Airlines and Delta Airlines. The team traveled with a group of 27 people. 18 players, coaches and family members flew out of San Francisco on two flights and the other 9 flew out of San Jose.
“It’s going to be a little late and they’re flying farther to San Francisco, or driving farther to San Francisco,” said a father of a player Bill Arrasmith. “They’ll get in like around 8:30 a.m. tomorrow morning in Florida.”
Canceled flights are also affecting other teams at this 100-team national tournament.
“There were 15 other teams that weren’t able to make it as well, so we’ll get to play two games and then we’ll also get to enjoy the parks as well, Universal Studios and Disney World,” said Brandt.
Red Bluff will not be able to win the tournament though since it started Dec. 26 and has been going on ever since. The team says it’s a great trip to build even more team chemistry though.
The team will travel back home Jan. 1.