More than $1,500 was raised for the Josh Sprague Memorial Fund last week at the basketball tournament held in his name at the Mount Desert Island YMCA. Approximately 50 kids and 25 adult players participated in the 17th annual tournament. Money raised goes towards the community fund, which helps young athletes pay for sports-related costs, while honoring Sprague’s memory and love of basketball. PHOTO COURTESY OF MDI YMCA

Tourney aids youth sports

BAR HARBOR — More than 75 basketball players from around Mount Desert Island helped raise $1,587 for the Josh Sprague Memorial Fund last weekend during the 17th annual Josh Sprague Memorial Basketball Tournament at the MDI YMCA.

Some 50 kids participated on Thursday, March 9, and 25 adults played on Friday, March 10, in the fun tournament that honors the memory of Josh Sprague, who died on March 26, 1999, in a tragic car accident.

“It’s a fairly informal tournament, and players are out there to celebrate the sport of basketball rather than to compete,” said YMCA Program Director Nick Tymoczko.

One aspect of this year’s tournament was the fact that players on the MDI High School varsity basketball team, fresh off their state championship win the weekend prior, were there to play and cheer on younger players.

“It was neat to see the high school kids who just won the state championship come for [the younger players], who had their heroes watching them and clapping for them,” said Tymoczko.

The Josh Sprague Memorial Fund supports youth sports on the island. It provides scholarships for young athletes to go to sports camps and helps pay for fees related to high school and club sports. It also supports the YMCA by providing funds for equipment and programming.

“This is a really cool way to honor Josh’s memory,” Tymoczko said. “Josh had a great love for the sport, and the tournament is a staple here at the Y, and it won’t be stopping anytime soon.

“MDI has a huge basketball culture, and it was definitely on display Thursday and Friday.”

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