Tornadoes' Raybuck has chance to play basketball down under
MOUNT CARMEL - Mount Carmel Area junior basketball player Ana Raybuck has been selected to play on a team of Pennsylvania high school girls players to compete next summer in an international tournament in Australia.
The trip is sponsored by Down Under Sports, a firm in North Logan, Utah, which specializes in sending United States scholastic athletes on trips to compete against athletes from other nations in locales such as Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, according to the firm's web site. Once selected, athletes must pay their own way for the trip, and Raybuck is presently in the process of securing sponsorships and raising money.
According to Deena Raybuck, Ana's mother, Down Under searches scholastic sports web sites such as MaxPreps to find prospective athletes.
"They found out about Mount Carmel during the (state) playoffs last year and someone actually saw Ana play and recommended her," Deena Raybuck said. Minersville's Riley Melochick was also selected although Raybuck said she wasn't sure if she was going to go through with the trip.
If Ana raises enough money, she'll leave July 15 for a 10-day trip, with seven days in Australia and three in Hawaii.
Once in Australia, the team will compete in a two-day tournament at different sites along the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia. According to Raybuck, teams from Sweden and Germany will compete along with U.S. and Australian teams.
According to the Down Home web site, each team will play a minimum of 10 games of 15-minute halves, with international rules. When not playing, teams will tour various sites of interest in Australia.
"Ana is very excited about the trip," Raybuck said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. All her friends and family are supporting her."
Raybuck said Ana has secured sponsorships so far from Matlow's, Schicky's Wings and Things, Scicchitano's Buono Pizza, Automotive Toy Store and Hollywood Pizza, and has also raised $750 with a T-shirt sale.
As a sophomore last season, Raybuck averaged 7.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 1.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game as Mount Carmel went 27-1. The Red Tornadoes won the Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference and District Four AA championships and also won two games in the PIAA state playoffs.
Raybuck played for Lourdes Regional as a freshman before transferring to Mount Carmel.