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Tournament for slain 8-year-old Quarius Dunham goes beyond basketball

HAMPTON — Quarius Dunham of Portsmouth died two months ago at age 8, but his presence was felt strongly during a 3-on-3 basketball tournament held in his honor at the Sports Barn Friday.

The event was held by the facility’s Spartans AAU club to raise money for the Dunham family, grieving the loss of Quarius, who was killed as the result of a shooting while traveling in South Carolina in late May. Friday’s event also served to teach youth basketball players they are part of something more important than games.

“It’s for the future and it’s for the better of themselves,” said David Medina, parent of a 12-year-old basketball player. “It’s not always about them, but helping others, and not to be selfish about helping another person who is in need. It goes beyond basketball.”

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Kelly Vigneaux controls the ball during a 3-on-3 basketball tournament in honor of slain 8-year-old Quarius Dunham at the Sports Barn in Hampton Friday, July 29, 2022.

The tournament raised about $4,000 for the Dunham family. Tecali and Matthew Dunham’s son Quarius played for a third-grade Spartans team in the fall, and attended numerous camps and clinics at the facility. He had dreams of playing in the NBA.

On Saturday, as players and members of the Sports Barn staff were decked out with the letter “Q” on their headbands or sleeves, and it was also on shirts given to winning teams in various age brackets. About 30 teams competed in the three-hour event.

“It was an amazing turnout, and it’s what we do as a Spartans family, we are a family,” said Jarrett Daniel, a coach and staff member. “The Spartans community out here, we stick together.”

Team Storm was one of the winners in a 3-on-3 basketball tournament in honor of slain 8-year-old Quarius Dunham at the Sports Barn in Hampton Friday, July 29, 2022.

“So many people came out from literally an hour drive or more to support the Dunham family,” said Dwight Davis, a former NBA player who entered a team in the tournament. “It’s just what we try to do here in our neighborhoods and feel real good about it.”

“I was so happy to see such a great turnout today,” Sports Barn owner Chris Coates said. “The support from all the players, sponsors and volunteers was amazing.”

More:‘Good friend’ Quarius Dunham remembered for smile, basketball skills after death at age 8

bigger than basketball

Rye Middle School seventh-grader Derek Swartz sports a

Youth players of all ages understood the meaning of the day.

“It was more about playing for a kid who did play basketball and was a great kid,” Portsmouth High School sophomore Ella Fletcher said. “He comes from a great family and it was just really tragic. I thought that 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 on a team that won its bracket.

“It was really fun and really well organized,” she said. “I thought there were some pretty 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 his bracket.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Swartz said. “I think it’s good for Quarius for people to be playing for him and donating.”

A 3-on-3 basketball tournament in honor of slain 8-year-old Quarius Dunham was held at the Sports Barn in Hampton Friday, July 29, 2022.

Twelve-year-old Dereon Medina was proud to play.

“I just played hard, it’s tough playing knowing that a young kid died,” he said. “But we went and played for him.”

“It’s teaching (the kids) about responsibility, and it’s teaching them about how to care for the next person in the community,” Davis said.

community support

Daniel said there were kids from rival teams who joined together to form teams for the day.

“The kids all really locked in for what the purpose was,” Daniel said.

Seeing rivals support the cause was especially touching, he added.

A 3-on-3 basketball tournament in honor of slain 8-year-old Quarius Dunham was held at the Sports Barn in Hampton Friday, July 29, 2022.

“We had a bunch of our brother and sister programs come out here,” Daniel said. “From a competitive standpoint, we care about their program and they care about ours, so when they heard about the tragedy that hit our program, they realized it could have been their program as well. They wanted to come out and show as much love and support as possible.

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