Former basketball players return to their home court for youth empowerment
Alumni of Wareham High School’s basketball team returned to their home court on Saturday night, Feb. 8 to support Community Youth Empowerment, a new organization formed to provide young people in Wareham with important life skills to guide them into adulthood.
The group was created by Jowaun Gamble, and will hold its first workshop on professionalism on March 1 at noon at the Boys and Girls Club. Proceeds from Saturday’s game went directly towards funding future workshops and events for Community Youth Empowerment.
Standout players from both the boys and girls basketball teams wore custom made black and white jerseys for Community Youth Empowerment, and faced off against their former peers, predecessors and successors in the first annual CYE Alumni Game.
The women’s game kicked off the action at 5 p.m. Della Tavares Silvia, of the class of 1982, coached the team with black jerseys. Going into the game, she said her strategy was to keep a fast pace, typical of Wareham basketball. “I don’t care how old they are, they’re gonna run,” she said.
Brice Fernandes, class of 1990, coached the team with white jerseys. He said he was happy to be back on the court, and that his plan was to just have fun.
The game had a slow start, with neither team establishing their offense early on.
At the end of the first quarter the score was just 7-5 with the team wearing black in the lead. As action picked up in the second half, the team wearing white started to find their groove on offense, scoring with fast breaks and free throws.
In the end, the white team came out on top with a score of 43-32.
Kira Correia, class of 2011 attributed her team’s win to “just having some fun.”
She added that it was great to return to her high school’s basketball court and support a good cause.
Lexie Silvia, class of 2012, played on the team wearing black, and while the game may not have gone her way, she said she was happy to play and promote Community Youth Empowerment, adding that the group is led by “a lot of good, positive people from Wareham.”
Although she had an impressive showing with steals and free throws, the 1,000 point scorer joked that she “used to be better” in high school.
The men’s game started out with both teams evenly matched, and scoring on everything from fast breaks to three pointers.
The first quarter ended with a 16-16 tie. As the game progressed, the team wearing black, led by Gamble himself, started to pull away with the lead. Going into the final quarter, Gamble and his teammates had established a nine-point lead of 63-52.
The final minutes of the game saw some intense physical play on both sides, and although the team wearing white did their best to rally in the fourth quarter, Gamble and company walked away with a 76-68 victory.
After the game, Gamble said that the event went better than he could have expected, as the auditorium was packed with supporters of his new organization. In the future, he said he plans on hosting the alumni game on an annual basis.
Fellow Community Youth Empowerment organizer Michael Mendes played against Gamble in the game. He said it was a great experience to play with former teammates, as well as older players he looked up to as a kid, and those who played on the team after him.
“It feels good to be surrounded by friends and family from back in the day,” he said.
To learn more about Community Youth Empowerment, or to sign up for workshops, contact Gamble at email@example.com.