(KTXL) – There are superheroes in the movies and there are superheroes in life.
Paradise High School varsity girls’ basketball coach Sheila Craft is the latter.
Like many of her neighbors, the Camp Fire of 2018 destroyed her home.
But while her home was burning, Craft was driving through the flames to get as many of her nursing home residents to safety as possible, and less than one week later, made her way back onto the basketball court.
“We just had to become one team with 16 players. Just a family. They needed that family. I needed that family,” Craft explained.
As a first-year head basketball coach in 2018, Craft said she wanted to give her student-athletes an escape as they rebuilt their lives. And they found that escape through the love of the game.
“I was in awe. I don’t know that at that age that I would have been able to be like, ‘oh I just lost everything I ever owned but let’s go play basketball.’ They amaze me,” Craft said.
Not long after the fire, filmmaker Alison Taupier learned of Craft and the team’s story of resilience.
“I met them and I just, I looked at my producer, Michael Shevloff, and I just said ‘I can’t leave. I have to stay. I have to see how they finish their season.’ And I was just so inspired by Sheila, by all of the girls,” Taupier told FOX40.
And Taupier did stay, documenting the team’s basketball season in a new film called “Bobcats on Three”.
With so many families losing everything in the fire, many moved out of town.
The girls’ varsity roster had just over a dozen players with just 13 and 14-year-olds squaring off against 17 and 18-year-old competitors.
But not even those odds could defeat their fighting spirit.
“They’re just special and, you know, they just sort of teach you how to not give up and to appreciate what you have,” Taupier said.
As the documentary captures, Craft and her team persevered through the challenges, discovering their inner strength one dribble at a time.
“I always said even pre-fire you can take the girl out of Paradise but you can’t take Paradise out of the girl, and my girls show that. They are the strongest group of young ladies I have ever met,” Craft told FOX40.
“Bobcats on Three” is available to watch on Amazon, YouTube, Xbox, Google Play, and Vudu.