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Tournament honoring crown dancer sees its biggest turnout
Written by George Werner   
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 12:31

For the fourth straight year, Camp Verde remembered one of its own in a uniquely competitive way — with a 12-team, three-day basketball tournament.

Orlando Lewis’ family celebrates his life Saturday, April 12, at the fourth annual Orlando Lewis Memorial Basketball Tournament. Sister Lashonna Lewis, brother Tommy Jackson, mother Peggy Mocasque, sister Shushandalynn Lewis, nephew Gavin Trujillo and sister Shenaya Lewis, from left, stand outside the doors of the Middle Verde Recreation Gym.

“It was the biggest tournament so far and gets bigger and bigger every year,” said Laurie Kaaekuahiwi, athletic director at South Verde High School, which was one of the sponsors of the fourth annual Orlando Lewis Memorial Basketball Tournament. “It went really good.”

Local men’s basketball teams as well as teams from Supai, Salt River and other communities around Arizona organized the weekend of Friday, April 11, through Sunday, April 13, to raise money in the memory of Lewis, a South Verde High School graduate and former casino slot technician who had been accepted into the U.S. Marine Corps before taking his own life Sept. 17, 2008.

“His son was born that year in March, he worked as a slot technician that summer, he was training out at Prescott for the Marines — everything was happening for him that year,” said Lewis’ mother, Peggy Mocasque. “All I know is he went to his girlfriend’s house and never came back.”

Orlando Lewis, right, holds his newborn son Keawe in 2008 shortly before Lewis' death.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, April 16, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.


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