North Platte basketball player helps out opponent in need

BRYCE MERENESS/Citizen photo North Platte senior Courtney Kipping poses in front of a table she set up Friday, Feb. 6 during a basketball doubleheader between the Panthers and Lathrop to sell cookies in order to raise money for a Lawson, Mo. family that recently lost its home in a fire. Keely Simmons, a member of that family, plays for the Lawson girls basketball team, and the money raised was presented to her during a game between North Platte and Lawson on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at Lawson High School. DEARBORN, Mo. — Courtney Kipping saw a story on the nightly news and decided to take immediate action.

A senior at North Platte High School and the starting point guard on the basketball team, Kipping learned that a the family of a Lawson player lost everything in a house fire that occurred late last month. Kipping decided to organize a quick fundraiser for the Simmons family, baking about 300 cookies to sell at North Platte’s courtwarming basketball doubleheader against Lathrop on Friday, Feb. 6.

Along with straight donations, Kipping helped raise more than $150, which was presented to the Simmons family on Tuesday, Feb. 10 when North Platte traveled to Lawson for a KCI Conference doubleheader.

“I just heard about it Wednesday night,” Kipping said after the girls game against Lathrop last Friday. “I planned it Thursday; it happened today. It was all really last-minute. We happened to have 24 dozen cookies up in our (home economics) room. That worked out really well, and we just baked all of them.”

Lawson senior Keely Simmons returned from a game at Cameron on Friday, Jan. 30 to find her house on fire that night.

The Lawson senior returned to the court four days later against Trenton thanks to the help of another basketball team in the area. Liberty High School heard of the Simmons’ family’s plight and raised more than $300 for the family, according to a report on Fox 4 Kansas City (WDAF).

So at about 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 4, Kipping decided to text friends

“On my phone, I saw the video,” she said. “So I texted people and said, ‘What can we do?’ We decided Cookies for Keely.”

Kipping had little time to turn her thoughts of helping into action.

First she met with the team, and they decided to help out. The table to collect sales and donations was set up in the school’s main foyer.

Kipping was excited at the response and the chance to help an opponent in need.

“It’s awesome,” Kipping said. “It’s something that Jesus would do. We want to honor him. Anything we can do to help, we can figure it out.”