THE Melbourne Boomers Women's National Basketball League team was in Sale last week as part of a tour, helping east Gippsland bounce back from the bushfires.
The two-day trip saw the WNBL powerhouse visit businesses, schools, basketballers and communities around Bruthen, Tambo Upper, Orbost, Lakes Entrance, Swan Reach, Nicholson, Newmerella and Sale to help reinvigorate tourism in the Gippsland Lakes areas affected by devastating fire activity.
Boomers players and staff journeyed to the Lakes Entrance Basketball Association, visited local schools and held an open training session at the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex in Sale.
The tour followed a Boomers donation of $18,698 to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, generated by activities at their top of the table clash against the Southside Flyers in January.
The club then gave away 100 free tickets for Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance basketball association members to attend the Boomers' match against Perth Lynx at the State Basketball Centre this month.
US import and fan favourite Sophie Cunningham has also raised more than $2500 for the Red Cross to assist people affected by the fires and has pledged an extra $25 for every three-point shot she makes during the season.
Former Gippslander and current Boomer Chelsea D'Angelo was back in familiar territory during the trip and said the club always enjoyed coming to Gippsland.
"We really love it down here, it's great to come home and see the family," she said.
The Boomers have been a Gippsland mainstay over the past three years, delivering events and community programs in partnership with the Latrobe Valley Authority and state government.
After finishing the regular season in third place on the ladder, the Boomers will play the Canberra Capitals in a best-of-three semi-final series, beginning Sunday in Canberra.