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Coaches and parents fundraise for campus basketball program through raffle

Sam Cross | The Feather Online

During summer league, boys basketball trains off-campus and in open gyms to prepare for the upcoming season.

Through summer practices, teamwork building and attending open gyms, the FC boys basketball varsity and junior varsity teams start to begin their season. Coaches and teammates anticipate the season, participating in fundraisers and informational meetings.

The donation of two tickets to a 49ers football game by a basketball parent, combined with other prizes, will be gathered in a gift to raffle off. The gift goes towards basketball funds and the drawing will be held at 5 p.m., Nov. 14. Tickets to the raffle are $10 and can be purchased through or by emailing coach Jonathan Penberthy.

Penberthy, boys basketball coach for six seasons, is excited for the new team. He shares how tough games will prepare the team for playoffs.

“We have our core players coming back,” Penberthy said. “We will miss the ones that graduated, but the ones coming back we’re really excited about. It’s gonna be a really good season but a tough one as well. That will hopefully prepare us for playoffs. We are Division five and have been for many past years. We open up against Orange Cove, the team that kicked us out of the playoffs, so it will be like a revenge game.”

In the following podcast, Morgan Parker interviews varsity basketball player Carston Saelzler about the season.

Freshman Nicholas Funk plays on the junior varsity basketball team during his first year at Fresno Christian. Funk is prepared for challenges and shares his excitement for the upcoming games.

“I’m excited to see what God is going to do with me and my team,” Funk said. “I’m preparing for the season by working out everyday and shooting some hoops. Something that is gonna be different is playing with a brand new community and brand new team. It’s my first year here and I’m just getting to know all the boys on my team.”

Lindsay Weimer | The Feather Online

Tyus Tillman (left) and Orion Tomlinson (middle) attempt to score points during a basketball game last year

A dinner was held for elementary, junior high and high school boys basketball parents and kids, Nov. 4. Penberthy shares the reason for the dinner was to connect and be a family as well as going over player expectations with coaches. 

Third year varsity player Carston Saelzler, ‘21, feels a connection with this year’s team. Saelzler shares that the players are not holding anything back.

“This season I’m really looking forward to playing with our team,” Saelzler said. “We’ve been training together for the past couple years and it feels like we’re always together whether on the court or school. I think with training and chemistry this year we’re going to do well, just a camaraderie of team and sportsmanship together.

“Last year we were holding ourselves back and weren’t able to go as far as we thought,” Saelzler continued. “Now, I feel like we’re letting everything loose and not afraid to put teams to shame. We just want to win and we’ll do anything to do that.”

Last week, varsity practices officially began. Games begin in November and possibly continue through February. 

Support boys basketball by participating in the raffle or attending upcoming opener games.

The boys basketball team’s first home game is against Orange Cove High School, Nov. 19. The first away game will be held at Tranquility High School, Nov. 22.

For more articles check out Operation Christmas Child inspires community, prompts schoolwide giving and Book Review: Indianapolis

Morgan Parker can be reached via email and via Twitter.

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