As Mark Detweiler left Northeastern High School’s Larry Moore Gymnasium on Saturday, he held a basketball in one hand. His 17-month-old son was in the other.
It was a perfect symbol of what 17 basketball teams gathered to honor: the Detweiler family, and the sport the late Jon Detweiler had left them so passionate about.
The sixth annual Jon Detweiler Memorial Shootout took place in Williamsburg’s gym and Northeastern’s varsity and auxiliary gyms Saturday, honoring the late Jon Detweiler and the Williamsburg Community Center that meant so much to him and his family.
“Growing up, that’s what we did,” said Mark Detweiler, who is one of Jon Detweiler’s three children and the head varsity basketball coach at Union County. “We grew up in that Williamsburg gym playing (basketball), him in there with us. That was part of our life. … We’d go in there and there’d be 20 guys in there, day after day, so it was a big part of what we did growing up.
” … There’s a message there we hope our players take with them that are involved in this that you got to give your time to a good cause. … And if you get an opportunity to give back, that’s what it’s about.”
Jon Detweiler was the primary caretaker of the Williamsburg Comminuty Center before he passed away at age 64 in 2009.
That summer, the basketball court was renamed the Jon W. Detweiler Court and the inaugural shootout was held. Six teams participated the first two tournaments, and the total grew to 17 Saturday.
“I think all the older gyms in the state, you start losing a few of them and it makes you appreciate the facility a lot more than probably what you would if there was still a lot of those gyms around,” Northeastern coach Brent Ross said. “If you go to a lot of these communities, a lot of these gyms have been demolished. They couldn’t afford to keep them up; they’re abandoned. So to keep the history of Williamsburg and the gym just like the one over at Knightstown that they play in, it’s kind of cool to get to play there. … I think the kids appreciate the one game over there.”
Union County, Union City, Northeastern, Centerville, Richmond and Lincoln all had varsity teams in the shootout.
For the first time, girls teams participated from Richmond, Union County, Hagerstown and Mississinawa Valley.
“I don’t care what game results are, it’s about spending time together, having a good day, remembering there are always people in your life that have gone above and beyond to make things better and to give their time to something,” Mark Detweiler said. “My dad gave his time when he retired to that Williamsburg gym to really do some neat things down there and try to make it better for the community, and that’s what it is.”
It was the first year Richmond participated in the event and head coach Joe Luce said he was inspired after watching the event in the past.
“I have personally watched each summer that they’ve had this event and have been very touched at the effort that so many were making to keep the Williamsburg gym in a first-class manner, as well as continuing a legacy of Mr. Detweiler and something that he worked very hard at to keep it going,” Luce said. “When we had an opportunity to participate, be a part of it this year, I thought, most importantly, it was great for our kids to get a chance to experience that, to go out and play and just to see how a community’s kind of rallied around an individual that put a lot of time in, how a family, the Detweiler family, has kept Mr. Detweiler’s name alive and just, again, continue to have our guys continue that legacy that he’s left behind and such an outstanding facility.”