Stop The Violence basketball tournament draws top talents in second year

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Mason Wang of Jamestown will be one of the players participating in the tournament. (file photo)
Mason Wang of Jamestown will be one of the players participating in the tournament. (file photo)

Some of the Historic Triangle’s best high school basketball players will be hitting the hardwood for a cause this Sunday in the second annual DreamChasers: Stop the Violence Basketball Tournament, which will take place at the James City County Recreation Center.

The tournament, which will open its door at 6 p.m., will feature four teams, consisting of local basketball standouts like Williamsburg Christian Academy’s Xavier Green and Cle’Von Greene, and Jamestown High School’s Evan and Mason Wang.

Additionally, some other highly-regarded basketball prospects in the state, such as four-star prospect Maliek White of George Wythe High School in Richmond and three-star recruit Mario Haskett from Lloyd C. Bird High School in Chesterfield, will also be joining the fray.

The origins of the tournament go back to 2011, when Elston “Deon” Brown, a good friend of Jamestown boys’ basketball coach, Donovan 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 tournament, which will follow a Walk Against Violence at 5 p.m., is open to the public with ticket prices set at $7 for adults and $5 for children. Proceeds from the tournament will go toward community outreach programs that help disadvantaged youths in the area.