Tonight’s girls basketball game between Wyoming Valley West and Scranton Prep has plenty of meaning for the Spartans – and not because of how it will affect each team’s record.
Valley West head coach Curt Lloyd has decided to make tonight’s game the inaugural Akacia Klick Classic to honor a former team member who passed away earlier this year.
“It means a lot because it’s going to show how loved my sister was,” said Sarah Klick, a former standout player for the Spartans who graduated this year. “I hope it goes on for years. I hope people remember what a great person she was and how she touched peoples’ lives.”
Akacia, 21, died last July at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center from acute intermittent porphyria, a genetic blood disease. She spent two weeks in intensive care prior to her death.
Tonight’s event will serve as fundraiser to help defray the family’s medical expenses. T-shirts bearing Akacia’s name will be available for $15.
“We’re trying to give something back to the family of two kids who spent a total of 12 years in the Spartans basketball community,” said Lloyd, who organized the game. “It’s a wonderful way to pay tribute to Akacia.
“I think it says something about my kids. We’re hoping to sell about 250 T-shirts.”
The event shows the compassion that the basketball team had for her older sister, said Sarah Klick.
“It’s really a great idea,” she said. “It’s bringing all the Valley West alumni together that she graduated with, and it also will bring younger kids to the game.”
Sarah expects it will be an extremely emotional experience for family members, including her parents, Jim and Janet.
“My sister was really dedicated to basketball,” Sarah said. “She stuck it out, even though she didn’t get a lot of playing time.”
Sarah hopes Akacia will never be forgotten.
“She was a great person. She was kind and always smiling. You never heard a harsh word about her.”
Akacia earned a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport.
She was enrolled and would have attended the Penn State/Wilkes-Barre campus last fall.
“She was going to study business,” Sarah said. “She was very creative and talented, and planned to open her own bakery.”