The Paradise High School girls’ and boys’ basketball teams on Monday each played their first game since a massive wildfire destroyed most of the town.
The Camp Fire, the nation’s deadliest in a century, killed at least 88 people and destroyed nearly 19,000 buildings, most of them homes; 203 people remain unaccounted for.
Many of the players and coaching staffs lost their homes in the fire. Both teams had been practicing at Chico High School, their opponent for Monday night’s games. The proceeds from the event, held on Chico State’s campus, will go toward the Paradise High athletic program.
The Paradise girls’ team lost 56-22, while the boys’ squad won its opener 80-62 over Chico High.
“This group of girls is just one big family,” Sheila Craft, coach of the Paradise girls’ team, told CBS Chico affiliate KHSL-TV. “This season is something they’ll have for the rest of their lives. In the devastation, there is a light, and there’s something for us to look forward to.”
It was an invitation the Paradise High School football team was all too ready to accept — a chance to spend the evening with the Niners after the Camp Fire ripped through their town late last week.
Authorities said Sunday that the fire has been fully contained after burning for more than two weeks.
The blaze began on Nov. 8 in the parched Sierra Nevada foothills and quickly spread across 240 square miles, destroying most of Paradise in a day.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.