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Red Bay girls play AAU basketball

ORLANDO — According to, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer sports organizations in the United States. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs.

The AAU has several different events held throughout the year, and this includes basketball games for amateur players across the country.

This year two girls from Red Bay High School, Darby Madden and Allie Kennedy, competed in AAU tournaments with a team comprised of some of the best girls’ basketball talent the high school level has to offer.

“Most games we played were pretty close,” Madden said. “There were a lot of good teams there from a lot of different states.

“When we were going into the tournament we were undefeated. We played in the championship game of the ESPN Showcase, and we lost by one point pretty much at the buzzer.

“In nationals we were in pool play and lost to a really good team out of Missouri. We made it into the championship consolation bracket, and we ended up winning ninth in the nation.”

The games that Madden and Kennedy participated in were held in the Orlando area, one at the ESPN Showcase Center in Disney World and the other in Kissimmee, Fla.

Playing in these AAU games was much different than participating in a normal regular season game for the two girls.

“These games were more intense, but the players were more laid back because they weren’t trying to hold a record. It was a more laid back atmosphere,” Madden said.

“It’s more relaxing. There’s not as much pressure, and it’s easier to play,” Kennedy said.

“They were fun,’ Kennedy said. “It was a good experience. It’s exciting. It’s good competition, and it makes you better.”

“I had a lot of fun,” Madden said.

“I really enjoyed playing down there. It was fun getting to play against the best players in the nation.”