Basketball tournament honors Karen Groninger

MINOT, N.D.- Girls basketball took over the gyms at the Minot YMCA and Edison Elementary for the 5th annual Karen Groninger Memorial Basketball Tournament. The event honors the life of Karen, who served as an educator and administrator for White Shield and Des Lacs-Burlington.

This basketball Saturday is for the girls.

“It’s just really fun to be able to pass the ball and everyone is really nice on our team and stuff,” said Rayna Magandy, South Prairie guard.

“It's one of my favorite hobbies and I just love it,” said Bailey McQueen, South Prairie guard.

Magandy and McQueen are part of just one of the many teams playing to remember Karen, who was a teacher, athletic director, and principal for nearly 30 years.

“Karen was very much a family person. You look behind me and you got parents and grandparents that are here. You have kids that are having fun and that's what Karen was all about,” said Darren Groninger, Karen’s brother-in-law and tournament organizer.

Karen passed away in 2013 after battling acute myeloid leukemia. Darren started this tournament to honor her.

“She always loved kids and valued the educational process of extra-curricular activities,” Darren said.

Now her legacy lives on by bringing teammates together on the basketball court.

“They have good sportsmanship and we never get mad at each other during a game because we miss a shot,” said Sheyenne Bingeman, Minot Dakota Heat player.

Teaching valuable lessons through athletics, just as Karen did her whole life.

The tournament raises money to help fund other youth sports programs at the Minot YMCA.

The boys tournament will be held on March 9.