JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A girl from Johnson City appears on TikTok after her traveling basketball team competed in a boys’ tournament and ended up fighting their way up the ranks.
In the video, players from Louisville, Kentucky’s foe nation, play against a team of boys in a Grade 4 tournament in Lexington, and by the end of the game they gain a significant lead.
“I think it’s really cool because I had no idea what she was videotaping and when I heard it went viral I checked TikTok,” said player Rooty Ahrens, who can be seen taking a shot sunk around 32 -second mark. “Yesterday it had about 32,000 likes and now today it has about 119,000 likes and it was just crazy.”
Based in Louisville, Kentucky, the girls of Foe Nation have competed on court against some of the best youth teams in the nation. They won the 3rd grade US Amateur Nationals in 2021 and placed 2nd in the Amateur Athletic Union Nationals.
While the original TikTok focuses on the girls being underrated, her dad Jason Ahrens said co-ed contests at home aren’t that rare.
“Here in the Tri-Cities, it’s normal for girls to play with boys,” Jason said. “And really, if you go to local tournaments here, there are a lot of successful girls’ teams. The Trotter Girls won 5th grade and we had a bunch of 6th graders – Nothing But Net Girls and the Tri-Cities Jazz about a month ago, that was two girls teams that met in the 6th grade finals – Class boys department. So it’s not uncommon around here.”
In fact, Jason said the team specifically chose this conference because they allowed for more open competition. Foe Nation had to choose between competing in either the boys or girls tournament this year due to scheduling issues and they chose the boys division.
“I think the significance of why it went viral is that I think it was a clever video and it really emphasized the fact that the girls’ team beat the boys’ team,” Ahren said. “It was the first game of the tournament and in the end we lost our second game by 19 points against a boys team.”
But when they returned the next day, they faced the same team with a different result. Rather than accept defeat, they took back the initiative in a higher bracket with a 6-point win.
“We practiced the day after and they were like, ‘Yeah, it went viral,’ and they were all excited and stuff,” Rooty said.
Her performance in the tournament garnered national attention after player mom Shelby Packer posted the video, and now the team is set to have a Good Morning America appearance on Monday. The travel portion of the team makes it difficult as the Rooty has to call, but she said she’s not nervous about her debut on TV.
Rooty also said she hasn’t noticed any bad blood between teams and is just looking forward to playing with BigShots and other local teams in the years to come.