Fans, family, and fun at youth basketball holiday tournament
Anyone driving past Quinn Elementary any evening this week may have been surprised to see a full parking lot during the school holiday.
Families and friends were coming to watch the Dartmouth Youth Activities Association’s Holiday Tournament, an annual tradition for young basketball players who stay in town in February.
On Wednesday evening, two junior division teams, Dallas and Philly, battled it out on the court.
“It gives the kids something to do while everybody else is on vacation during this week,” said DYAA President Freddie Frates. “We try to keep the kids busy.”
“We have special awards for this,” noted DYAA Treasurer Jim Vieira. “It gives other teams a chance that may not in the regular season qualify for any trophies.”
“What happens is, sometimes the number one team in our league, their best player may be off skiing,” Vieira added. “So it kind of mixes things up a little.”
The Holiday Tournament helps fundraise for the Association as well. Admission to the games is by donation, and there is a raffle and a table full of snacks — including fresh popcorn — outside the gym.
Cindy Maurice of New Bedford came to watch her grandson, nine-year-old Gabriel Goddu, play.
“I haven’t missed a game yet,” she laughed. “He hasn’t shot any baskets yet, but he’s been blocking real good, and passing the ball. It’s great!”
Goddu’s team, the Dallas Mavericks, is currently undefeated, said dad Paul, adding “He loves it!”
But although Dallas was first seed, the games are fairly evenly matched; on Wednesday, Dallas beat Philly by just one point.
Ana Afonso of Dartmouth was supporting her son Matthew, 10, with his three-year-old sister Julia and the rest of the family.
She had made Julia a custom shirt for the occasion.
“Big brother’s biggest fan,” the shirt read.
“He loves basketball,” Ana said of Matthew. “He eats, breathes, sleeps basketball. He did the Boston Celtics camp in Somerset last year…He wants to be an NBA player, that’s his dream. So we’re just supporting him.”