Tournament for slain 8-year-old Quarius Dunham goes beyond basketball
HAMPTON— Quarius Dunham of Portsmouth died two months ago aged 8, but his presence was strongly felt during a 3-on-3 basketball tournament held in his honor at the Sports Barn on Friday.
The event was organized by the facility’s Spartans AAU club to raise money for the Dunham family, mourn the loss of Quariuswas killed in a shooting during a trip to South Carolina in late May. Friday’s event also served to teach young basketball players that they are part of something. more important than games.
“It’s for the future and it’s for the best of themselves,” said David Medina, a parent of a 12-year-old basketball player. “It’s not always about them, but about helping others, and not being selfish to help another person in need. It goes beyond basketball.”
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The tournament raised approximately $4,000 for the Dunham family. Tecali and Matthew Dunham’s son, Quarius, played for a third-year Spartans team in the fall and attended numerous camps and clinics at the facility. He dreamed of playing in the NBA.
On Saturday, players and staff at Sports Barn were adorned with the letter ‘Q’ on their headbands or sleeves, and it was also on shirts given to winning teams in different age brackets. About 30 teams participated in the three-hour event.
“It was an amazing turnout, and that’s what we do as a Spartans family, we are a family,” said coach and staff Jarrett Daniel. “The Spartans community here, we stick together.”
“So many people came literally an hour or more away to support the Dunham family,” said Dwight Davis, a former NBA player who entered a team into the tournament. “That’s just what we try to do here in our neighborhoods and we feel really good about it.”
“I was so happy to see such turnout today,” said Sports Barn owner Chris Coates. “The support from all the players, sponsors and volunteers has been incredible.”
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bigger than basketball
Young players of all ages understood the meaning of the day.
“It was more about playing for a kid who played basketball and was a great kid,” said Portsmouth High School sophomore Ella Fletcher. “He comes from a big family and it was really tragic. I thought this event was really good for (the family). It was really heartfelt, and I’m glad I got to be a part of it.”
Fletcher was part of a team that won its slice.
“It was really fun and really well organized,” she said. “I thought there were some really good games, it was for a good cause and I’m glad a lot of people showed up.”
Rye Middle School student Derek Swartz hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to send his team to the championship game in their bracket.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Swartz said. “I think it’s good for Quarius that people play for him and donate.”
Dereon Medina, 12, was proud to play.
“I just played hard, it’s hard to play knowing a youngster is dead,” he said. “But we went to play for him.”
“It teaches (kids) responsibility, and it teaches them how to take care of the next person in the community,” Davis said.
Daniel said there were kids from rival teams who came together to form teams for the day.
“The kids have all really locked themselves away for that purpose,” Daniel said.
Seeing rivals support the cause was particularly touching, he added.
“We’ve had a bunch of programs from our siblings coming out here,” Daniel said. “Competitively, we care about their program and they care about ours, so when they heard about the tragedy that befell our program, they realized it could have been their program too. They wanted to come out and show as much love and support as possible.
“Especially in 2022, there’s so much violence, so much gun violence, and what we had here today, we had a group of young men and women who all have very big goals,” Daniel added. “Whether it’s education, management, basketball and everyone locked up with the family today.”
Medina said when a tragedy occurs, it affects the whole community.
“It’s all about children, losing one is like losing a family member,” Medina said. “It’s about making sure their family knows we’re here to support them.”
Coates said the event will be held annually.
“We will continue to hold this event every year in his honor,” Coates said.
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