An Edmonton basketball tournament this weekend had more meaning behind it than simply who won and lost on the court. The first annual Fernanda Salinas-Sanchez Memorial Tournament at Westminster Junior High School was in honour of the student-athlete who lost her life earlier this year.
Fernanda Salinas-Sanchez, 16, was killed while visiting her home country of Mexico in July.
On July 25, Fernanda, her aunt and cousins were in a van heading to Acapulco when the back tire of the vehicle exploded. The driver lost control, and Fernanda and her aunt were killed.
READ MORE: Edmonton teen dies in ‘freak accident’ while on vacation in Mexico City
This weekend’s tournament was organized by the teenager’s friends and former teachers. They chose a basketball tournament to honour Fernanda because of her love for the game.
“That was her number one extra-curricular outside of school, inside of the school. She used to hangout in the gym everyday at lunch and just shoot hoops whenever she could,” Westminster teacher May Frizzell said.
Fernanda played basketball at Westminster School during her three years at the junior high school before playing on the Ross Sheppard High School senior girls team in grade 10.
Many of Fernanda’s former classmates and teammates participated in the tournament, including Abbey Marschall who was close friends with Fernanda as well as her teammate at Westminster.
“We were both so crazy about basketball, and she would rather play than breathe almost, so that was the first thing: I was like, we have to do a basketball tournament. She would love that,” Marschall said.
“That’s who she was. She wanted to play basketball all the time so that was the first thing that came to my mind.”
The tournament also served as a fundraiser, with donations going towards a scholarship that will be handed out to a student-athlete who shows a similar passion towards basketball as Fernanda.
“The legacy would be to inspire young boys and girls to do something that you love and do it with a lot of passion,” Frizzell said.