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Basketball tournament planned for Suffolk

Suffolk is encouraged to lace up their basketball shoes and come out for a day of fun and community.

The Triple Threat 757 3-on-3 coed basketball tournament will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 25 at Bethlehem Christian Church.

The idea for the event came when Shane Johnson came to Pastor Rob Slingluff with the idea of doing a basketball tournament. Slingluff loved the idea, as he wants to bring more youth and families to his church.

“We are trying to be a part and serve a community and bring it together in a culture that seems very divided in many ways,” said Slingluff.  “Our main direction as a church is to show the love of God for all people.”

The tournament will have four divisions, ages 10 to 13, ages 14 to 17, 18 and over competitive, and 18 and older recreational. The cost is $25 per player and can have teams of three to six players. Winners of the tournament will receive a cash prize and individual trophies.

Johnson came up with the idea as a way to bring people together. As a former Lakeland High School basketball player, now a musician and business owner, Johnson knew sports was a great canvas for a family-centered event.

“Basketball always connected me with different people with different walks of life and different cultures,” he said. “It’s a great way to reach out.”

The tournament will be more than just basketball. This will have something for everyone playing basketball or watching for fun. In addition, there will be food and retail vendors, bounce houses, face painting, DJ Alan Bain and much more. As time gets closer, the two plan to add more to the event.

“We’ll keep adding stuff,” said Johnson. “We have a month and a half or so to add anything that will spice it up.”

A unique addition will be former NBA players who will be there to speak: Willie Ponds, who played for the Boston Celtics, and Rolando Lamb, who played for The Seattle SuperSonics in the 1980s.

Sponsors include Mike Duman’s Automotive, Sugar Mama’s Bakery, Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Portions of the proceeds will go towards Bethlehem Christian Church Mission Group, Enlightened Minds Mentoring, Kicks for Kidz & CHKD.

To sign up to play, be a vendor, sponsor or volunteer, email TripleThreatBasketball757@gmail.com or call Shane Johnson at 618-9684. The rain date is Oct. 9.