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For new Jamestown boys basketball coach Donovan Bridgeforth, basketball has proven a reliable method to bring members of the community together for a good cause.
One such cause is Sunday’s first annual DreamChasers: Stop the Violence Basketball Tournament, which will take place at the James City County Recreation Center.
The origins of the tournament go back to 2011, when Elston “Deon” Brown, a good friend of Bridgeforth, was murdered by Desmond Glenn Holland after an altercation between the two near Centerville Road.
Another close friend of Bridgeforth was killed in November, when Tyler Anthony Cole was found in a crashed vehicle suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
The two deaths were enough to motivate Bridgeforth to raise awareness for violent crimes in an attempt to stop the violence.
“It’s something that I hold close to my heart,” he said. “Two of my best friends were murdered in the area, and it still hurts me to this day. I wouldn’t want any kid of a mother to ever have to feel that type of feeling.”
As the CEO of DreamChasers, a mentoring program that aims to mentor area youths athletically and academically, Bridgeforth decided to combine his passions – basketball and helping the community – to promote a positive environment in the Historic Triangle.
The basketball tournament will feature some of the best prep basketball players in the area, including Williamsburg Christian Academy’s Xavier Green, Hampton Roads Acadmey’s Bryan Hart and Grafton’s Cle’Von Greene.
Six total teams will square off in the tournament, two in each of the three divisions: middle school, underclassman and upperclassmen.
As well as the three basketball games being played, the event will also feature live music and prize giveaways. Bridgeforth is hoping a fun-filled night of competitive and high-quality basketball will help bring the community together and promote positivity.
“I think about what is going on in the world, [positivity] is something we need to promote,” he said. “I’ve always used basketball as a brotherhood. We’re trying to promote something that will help the community and ourselves, but also the world.”
The tournament, which will begin at 6 p.m., is open to the public with ticket prices set at $7 for adults and $3 for children.