Friends and family filled the Diamond Jenness gym in Hay River Thursday night.

Outwardly they were rooting for basketballs whooshing through hoops.

Inwardly, they were cheering for the memory of Jill Taylor, the longtime Hay River teacher and volunteer who died suddenly following complications from brain surgery in October.

Friend and colleague Kelly Webster organized the charity game.

Admission was by donation.

The money raised goes to Lights On — a evening drop-in program for sober youth that Taylor founded almost a decade ago.

Hay River basketball game

'Basketball was her favourite sport so there is no better way to honour her than with a game,' says Kelly Webster, who organized the game to honour Jill Taylor. (Kirsten Murphy/CBC)

Webster said it was a fitting tribute.

"Basketball was her favourite sport so there is no better way to honour her than with a game," Webster said, adding that Taylor was a "can-do" person and "an advocate for someone who needed an extra person in their corner."

Her husband Mark did not attend the game, but family friends, Josie and Scott Farrell, said Mark appreciated the gesture.

"Anything that's in memory of her [Jill], he is supportive of," Scott Farrell said.

Josie Farrell said not a day goes by that she does not think of her camping buddy.

"I think she would have been loved to have been here to watch the game, but also the fact that people are coming out to support Lights On. She was so passionate about it and about helping kids."