Monday, August 14, 2000

Tournament keeps slain teen's dream alive

Proceeds will help Newport students go to college

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — Vanessa Greene has been able to visit her son's grave only twice a week for the past month instead of the usual daily visit. She has been too busy organizing the Petey Greene Scholarship 2000 Basketball Tournament, which raised about $2,000 this weekend at the Newport High School basketball courts.

        Her son, Petey, an 18-year-old basketball star at Newport High, was fatally shot in July 1999 while trying to break up a scuffle between friends. Petey had hoped to walk on to the Northern Kentucky University basketball team in the fall to play with his high-school teammate and friend Brenden Stowers, who obtained a full basketball scholarship.

        “Petey was ready to go to college and make something of himself,” Ms. Greene said Sunday, wearing a T-shirt with Petey's picture and “Only the Good Die Young” emblazoned across it. “This scholarship can help other Newport kids make something of themselves.”

        The tournament and accompanying barbecue attracted 11 boys teams and three girls teams, up from last year's total of six teams. About 300 people attended each day of the two-day tournament. Ms. Greene hopes to give between two and four $500 college scholarships.

        Last year, the Greene family held the tournament the same week in August, less than a month after Petey's killing. They plan to continue raising scholarship money and bringing together the neighborhood through basketball, Ms. Greene said.

        “We're trying to raise the money, keep the dream alive,” said Jeffrey Stowers, Brenden's father and a close family friend.

        Brenden's team in the tournament was named “P.G. 43” — “P.G.” for Petey Greene and “43” for Petey's basketball number. The team's jerseys were orange, Petey's favorite color. Last year, the team finished second in the tournament.

        “He's always still playing with me,” said 19-year-old Brenden, who will start on the NKU team as a sophomore this year. He had hoped Petey would be alongside him on the NKU court instead of just in spirit. “We're here to reflect back on the time we spent with him. Basketball was his love.”

        The day before his death, Petey told his mother that she should go back to college to get her degree in order to make more money. She plans to enroll in a technical degree program soon.

        A solitary tear rolled down Ms. Greene's cheek as she talked of her son.

        “It's good to cry,” she said. “If Petey was here, he'd be in the tournament, too.”


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