The 5th annual “Taylor Tip-Off” basketball tournament kicks off next month.
It began in 20-09 after a Westbrook man killed his wife, then himself. The couple’s two daughters discovered the bodies. Ever since that tragic day, teammates of the two girls on the Maine Swish basketball team decided to get involved and help out using their favorite activity; basketball.
“Kaylee Taylor and Keanna Taylor, they walked in on their parents and they were left with pretty much nothing and we decided to do a basketball tournament and that’s how it started,” said Maeve Larrabee, the student coordinator for the tournament.
Their basketball tournament has been a resounding success ever since. To date, the tournament has raised more than $57,000 for children who have lost parents to acts of domestic violence.
“Each year since, approximately 100 teams have participated, challenging each other not only on the basketball court itself, but to raise the most money,” said Mark Leclerc, one of the organizers of the event. “You see in the Taylor Tip-off, it’s not who wins the games, it’s who’s able to raise the most money to help these children.”
Thursday, Governor LePage was on-hand to urge Mainers to support the tournament that supports a cause he’s been behind since he was elected.
“I find this the most heinous crime of all crimes in society. Because you’re taking young lives and you destroy them before they have a chance to start,” LePage said.
Some of the kids who have suffered the horrors of domestic violence were also on-hand. Gabriel Brady lost his mother but saved the lives of his brother and sister in a 2011 domestic violence situation. Brady’s mother, Katie Cabana who was 29 at the time was shot and killed along with another man, Aaron Settipani, 41 in Marshfield. Brady helped his younger brother and sister hide during the ordeal and was later honored with an award for bravery from the Maine State Police. Richard Widdecombe Jr. Of Machias is serving life in prison for the murders. Ever since that tragic night, Brady has shrugged off the pain and spends his time helping other victims.
“I don’t think it was difficult at all. I just got out there and just wanted to help people no matter what because it’s the right thing to do,” Brady said.
The Taylor Tip-off is scheduled for November 10, with games in Falmouth and Waterville. For more information or to make a donation, you can go to taylortipoff.org