YMCA holds all-night basketball tournament

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 4, 2002

A two-year veteran of the Lakeland High School varsity team, Alvester Franklin is used to playing basketball well into the night. But on Friday night, the senior Cavalier had to play at hours he had rarely experienced. The Suffolk YMCA held a lock-in basketball tournament, which lasted until the wee hours of the morning.

But as long as he got to show off his skills at dunking and driving, Franklin didn’t care what the clock said.

&uot;It’s worth staying up late to do something that I love, and impressing the fans,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s basketball, so it doesn’t matter when I get to play.&uot;

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The event was coordinated by Quentin Battle, a youth leader at Norfolk’s New Frontier Church of God and Christ. &uot;We saw a real need for activities we Christian youths to do, so we started holding midnight Gospel roller skating parties three years ago,&uot; said Battle. &uot;I’ve heard a lot of Suffolk youths saw that they don’t have anything to do at night, so we shopped around for a place to hold a basketball tournament. We chose the YMCA because there’s so much here – ping-pong tables, a swimming pool, basketball courts, and some extra space to hold some live music later.&uot;

The event wasn’t just about the court sport; later on, a Gospel concert was held. Norfolk State University freshman Felicia Dixon was looking forward to the hymns.

&uot;I came here to flirt with some of the basketball players,&uot; she said with a laugh, &uot;but I can’t wait for the concert!&uot; Dixon is a member of the Garden of Prayer #3 church, which is part of the New Frontier’s jurisdiction.

Some of the participants were used to staying up late. David Copeland may be only 11, but he’s a veteran of midnight basketball.

&uot;This isn’t tough (to stay up late),&uot; said Copeland, a resident of Chesterfield. &uot;I eat a lot of Gatorade bars, and I took a two-hour nap on the way here.&uot;

The Clovers, a traveling team from Norfolk, are also used to caging in the early AM.

&uot;We play midnight games all the time,&uot; said Deon Lassiter, who plays point guard and small forward. &uot;We’ve played in Suffolk, Richmond, Va. Beach, Norfolk, everywhere. Anytime basketball calls, we play!&uot;