The Lehighton community is celebrating the life of a former basketball player with the game he loved most.
Damian Mele was a 2017 Lehighton High School graduate who was killed in a car accident last year.
Now a memorial basketball tournament will help his legacy live on, both on and off the court.
"What happened to Damian was a terrible, terrible, tragic accident and we all miss him every day, every minute of every day. Myself, Angelo, Taylor, Vince, all his friends and family but I think collectively we are now on a mission," said Lori Mele, Damian's mother.
It's a mission to honor the memory of Damian Mele, a 20-year-old Lehighton grad and former basketball player killed in a tragic car crash last September.
"It's the same for everyone who knew him and he impacted, he always put a smile on everyone's face and it just hit everyone the same," said Donovan Buchinsky, one of Damian's friends.
"[I was] just upset...heartbroken," said Dylan Scott, another friend of Damian's.
Mele's family and friends felt they had to do something to start the healing process.
"Shortly after the accident, we had probably 30 to 40 kids at our house and we were all brainstorming on how to remember him," said Lori Mele.
The answer was an easy one. To remember Damian with the game he cherished.
"Basketball? [It was] life pretty much, that was everything he loved, I mean...he just loved basketball," said Xander Smith, another one of Damian's friends.
And so the Damian Mele Memorial Tournament was born. The inaugural 3 vs. 3 tournament will take place next month at Lehighton High School.
"I'm excited to just get everyone together, everybody back in the gym where he played and it's going to be a fun day," said Scott.
Beyond both competitive and casual games, the day will also feature lots of food and a basket raffle.
"We're already at over 111 and we are still accepting baskets. We may have to wind our way around the halls of the school but it'll be awesome," said Diane Brownmiller, one of the co-chairs of the basket raffle committee.
All tournament proceeds will go toward a scholarship fund created in Damian's name.
"It's gonna be a great thing, hopefully a great tradition that carries on forever," said Smith.
"We have a job to do, which is to honor his memory and really to make sure he's never forgotten," said Lori Mele.
The Damian Mele Memorial Tournament is Saturday, March 28th.
The deadline to register a team is March 1st. You can head online to the official tournament website to sign up.