Martinsville basketball tournament keeps memories of loved ones alive

Shayne Dwyer/WDBJ7
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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) In Martinsville, a charity basketball tournament named its champion today. It started as a support network for those who have lost loved ones and the annual Don't Count Me Out Tournament has grown into a Southside staple.

In the gym of Martinsville Middle School, it's good old five on five. Streetball may be a stretch but it's pretty close.

A decent crowd showed up Sunday, but it's those who aren't there that have the attention.

"People are just excited to see which loved one is going to win this year. My son won it last year so they are the champs," Don't Count Me Out President Eugene Grant said. "Me and my wife got together because we lost our son three years ago we got this organization together because we went to a function where if you weren't an organ donor you couldn't come so we started this for anyone that lost a loved one."

Team Quan is the team to beat. Named for Laquan Jones, killed in a shooting in 2013.

"It's a real good game, and the thing I like about it is everyone is coming together for the cause," Grant said.

Don't Count me out grew as a support network for those that they've lost.
Each team in this third annual tournament named after someone special.

"Really having a day of just fun, family fun, not just a day but two days back to back just family fun it really shows and models for the rest of the community that we can come together and have fun," Martinsville Vice-Mayor Chad Martin said.

Through two championship games - you have to love double elimination - Team Quan came back out on top. That's back to back trophies.

"This is a great thing for the community, I love to be here, I love to give back. A lot of people don't come back enough for these type of events because the city needs it so I think they're doing a good thing for the city and for their loved ones to keep them alive," Team Quan Member Demario Mattox said.

Keeping them alive by being out here. The love for the game is only secondary to the love for their own.

"I love that I love when everyone can come together for the cause, for the cause," Grant said.

Don't Count on me hopes to raise a couple thousand dollars from the tournament, and it's already looking forward to next year.