More than 20 teams of street ballers woke up early on the morning of June 30, laced up their basketball shoes, and ventured to the caged courts in Ripley to compete for a worthy cause. It was a day to pay tribute to the 2012 Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington High School graduate who lost his life from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident on US Route 52 shortly after high school graduation. The calling was the seventh annual Ravye Williams Memorial Three-on-Three Basketball Tournament held at what is now known as the Ravye Williams Memorial Basketball Court in Ripley. Just weeks following his death in 2012, the Ravye Williams Memorial Three-on-Three Basketball Tournament was born, an event created by his family to raise money for the Ravye Williams Memorial Scholarship Fund which provides scholarships for RULH student/athletes. While it’s always heartbreaking for the family and friends of Ravye Williams to reflect on their loss, it was heartwarming for them to see so many come out to show their support at the seventh annual Ravye Williams Memorial Three-on-Three Tournament with 22 teams participating. Some competing in this year’s tournament were too young to remember the late RULH grad who wore the No. 12 jersey during his time as a Blue Jay basketball and soccer star, but there were also many competing who knew Ravye well. Even some of his former teammates would come out to support the cause and share memories of their late friend. “It’s a great way to keep his name alive and hold us together. I love how the community still comes together and show so much love for a wonderful young man,” said Ravye Williams’ mother, Desree “Desi” Thompson. To cap off a heated day of competition, the winners of this year’s tournament were awarded their T-shirts. In the 11 and under division, it was the team “Never Out” made up of players James Brooks, DJ Hendricks and Trenton Meyer topping all competition to take first place. Winning the 12 – 14 Division was “Team Mitchell”, made up of players Nate Mitchell, Justin Becker, Brayden Hanson and Gabe Fyffe. Winning the 15 – 18 Girls Division was the “Eagle Jays”, consisting of Rayve Williams’ younger sister Azyiah Williams and her teammates Yasmin Lucas and Brooke Sims. Winning the 18 and over division was the three-on-three team made up of Troy Gibbs, Donte Bennett, and Jon Rice.
Teams compete during the seventh annual Ravye Williams Memorial Three-on-Three Basketball Tournament in Ripley, June 30.