Extra Effort: Notre Dame Girls Basketball Enjoying Role as Secret Santa

Local Sports

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Games and practices are the last thing on the mind of the Notre Dame High School girls basketball team this week.

For a second year in a row, the Irish have come together as a team to help buy Christmas presents for kids in the city of Peoria who may otherwise go without any gifts this year.

“We went out and we went shopping and we got them clothes and toys,” said senior Lilly Blackford. “We just think things that will make a kids Christmas special for once. What can we do to make it better.”

In a winter without basketball, the Irish were thankful to come together to wrap the gifts for team bonding this week. The players understand their efforts are helping share holiday cheer throughout the community.

“For us to be able to do something to help bond as a team, especially for the girls coming up next year,” said senior Anabelle Zeller. “But then to also do something to help people in need. It was definitely rewarding and I think everybody on the team really enjoyed it.”

The players went shopping for gifts last week and wrapped them this week. The team didn’t want to say where the gifts were headed so it could be kept a surprise.

“It’s just nice to have our kids understand and appreciate the things they have,” said Notre Dame coach Layne Langholf. “Raise some money and give some families some things they might go without this Christmas.”

It’s a lesson of perspective and good will that the Irish hope to take with them the rest of their lives.

“The things that you think come easy, don’t come easy to everyone else. So it puts a huge perspective in your mind, like you can make a difference,” said Blackford. “So special to say I made that impact, I made a difference.”

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