Bunko for Basketball raises money for scholarship

Partcipants of Bunko for Basketball played the dice game, bunco, along with taking part in various auctions at the event. Positive Role Models Involved in the Development of Excellence and the women’s basketball team organized the event   at the Student Union Ballroom.
Nikisun Shrestha/The Lion’s Roar

Positive Role Models Involved in the Development of Excellence and the Lady Lions basketball team came together to organize another edition of Bunko for Basketball after a three-year hiatus. 

The fundraiser organized by PRIDE, the Lady Lions support and mentoring group, was held on Saturday, Apr. 29 in the Student Union Ballroom.

“There’s food, drinks, a live auction, silent auction, door prizes and a game called bunco,” said Head Coach Ayla Guzzardo. “It’s a fast-paced dice game, so it’s got different ways to win. It’s just a lot of fun and good atmosphere for a lot of people.”

Guzzardo further explains the importance of this event to the women’s basketball program.

“This is huge for us,” said Guzzardo. “The community support and the participation from the community and PRIDE extends our utmost gratitude. This type of event helps us become a better program. It helps in funds that we possibly can’t get.”

Senior guard Taylin Underwood was grateful for the support of the Lady Lions in the event.

“It means a lot because it’s everybody supporting our program,” said Underwood. “We’re getting money for our program to better it. We want to do better for the future. I think it’s going great. We had a lot of fun, and we have a lot of people come out. So, it was a good turnout.”

President of PRIDE Rita Bertolino explains how the event was created.

“A number of years ago our former coach Lori Davis came up with the idea of a fundraiser to be able to pay for the scholarships of women,” said Bertolino. “At that time, many of the student athletes that came to school didn’t finish their degree in four years. So, there was a need for a fifth year scholarship. The Bunko came into play to raise money for the scholarships.”

Guzzardo explains the importance of the scholarship to the players and their pursuit of an education.

“It helps with the fifth year aid,” said Guzzardo. “We wanna make sure our girls graduate and finish their education. The first thing we want them to do is get a degree. If they have degree, they can be successful in the things past basketball. This allows us to continue to do that.” 

Bertolino tells the reason for bringing this event back after three years.

“This year, with the budget cuts and the state cuts, we decided to bring back bunco and have this fundraiser for the Lady Lions basketball team,” said Bertolino.

PRIDE has graduated nine different students with the scholarships and has raised over $100,000. It consists of retired professional women or women who currently work in the community. They serve as role models and mentors to the team and during the semester breaks and the holidays, they provide meals for the team. PRIDE also provides snacks for the  team during the away games.

Bertolino looks forward to  the event and believes the event has other aspects besides the game. 

“We are very excited,” said Bertolino. “We’ve had a lot of community support with donations for our silent auction. I think people are excited that we’re having it again. It’s a game where you constantly move. So, you meet people, and it’s a great opportunity to network.” 

A 39-inch TV was one of several items to be auctioned at the event. Funds for  the scholarships to Lady Lions basketball team was raised in the event.
Nikisun Shrestha/The Lion’s Roar