By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
WAVERLY — Saturday morning, Broad Street was jammed with basketball players of all ages from near and far, as well as members of the Valley community on hand to support the Evan Davies 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, held to benefit Davies, a teenage cancer patient from Waverly.
Davies was diagnosed with leukemia about three years ago at age 12.
“He went though an intense month of chemotherapy,” said his father Jim Davies. “After that, it’s been a three-year treatment. In 2019, he was diagnosed with a relapse, which automatically kicked him into a bone marrow transplant.
“Now, we’re post-transplant at roughly 80 days, and he’s doing great,” he noted. “We’re just maintaining now to get past the first 100 days. Hopefully, there’s an end in sight.
“In January, the plan is to get him back into school, and work him back into the sports he wants to play,” added Jim Davies.
“Evan is a strong kid,” said his mother, Nikki Davies. “I think he keeps a lot inside, but he’s done well with what he’s been handed.
“He has a bit of a road ahead of him still, but hopefully he’ll get back to school in January,” she noted. “He missed out on the start of middle school, and now he’s missed out on the start of high school.
“In the grand scheme of things it’s minor, but for a teen-ager it’s a big deal,” added Nikki Davies.
The tournament, and surrounding festivities, were the brain-child of Keith Thomas, who owns Hemp Geek on Broad Street.
“It is such a great cause,” said Thomas.
“I think it was wonderful the way the community came together,” he said. “This wouldn’t have been possible without the community, the businesses on Broad Street, Dave Shaw of the Waverly Recreation Department, and Joe Tomasso of Tomasso’s Restaurant.”
(Thomas also noted Robbie Thomas, owner of the Elmira Enforcers and Elmira Pioneers, and Pudgie’s Pizza were major sponsors of the event.)
Tomasso, a lifelong resident of the Valley, was a major backer of the event, and gives all the credit to Thomas.
“Keith Thomas from Hemp Geek is really the one who put this altogether, I just came along for the ride.
“My son Joey and Evan have played baseball and basketball together for years, and I’ve know Jimmy and his family for years,” he noted. “It’s a great event. Evan and Jimmy (Davies) are big basketball people, so it kind of goes hand-in-hand.
“I’m not really surprised by today at all,” added Tomasso. “When something happens, people in the the Valley tend to rally around each other.”
Both Jimmy and Nikki Davies were impressed by the show of support.
“This is amazing to say the least,” said Jimmy Davies. “It’s been a true testament of this community, coming together like this for a cause.
“It really means a lot to me and my family,” he added.
“It’s pretty amazing,” said Nikki Davies. “The community has been awesome. Our family has been awesome, our friends have been awesome, and strangers have been awesome.”
Jimmy Davies, one of the best basketball players to ever come out of Sayre High School, was right in his element Saturday.
“The tournament itself has been awesome,” he said. “It’s been very competitive, and it’s been great to watch.”
Waverly High School coach Lou Judson volunteered his time to run the 3-on-3 tournament.
“It’s been an amazing, a lot of good basketball at all ages,” he said.
Judson notes basketball was just a means to an end.
“Keith Thomas and Dave Shaw Sr. have been behind the scenes running this, and did a tremendous job,” said Judson.
“The outpouring of support, not just from Waverly, but the surrounding communities like Athens and Sayre … for the first year of doing this, the support for the Davies family and Waverly Recreation has been outstanding.”
Waverly Recreation Director Dave Shaw was thrilled with how the day’s events transpired.
“It’s been an awesome day — perfect weather and a lot of good, competitive basketball. We had some guys really going at it.
“But it’s not really about basketball, it’s about the community spirit,” said Shaw. “Everybody showed up today and put their best foot forward. And it wasn’t just people from Waverly, but all around the Valley.
“We had teams from Elmira, Corning, and Mansfield here today, and they fell right in line with what we’re trying to do,” he added.
Shaw said the tournament will be an annual event.
“It will always be the Evan Davies 3-on-3 Tournament, but we’ll find a different family — or families — that really needs the assistance,” said Shaw, noting they had raised more than $20,000 before Saturday’s event.
“The first time you do something like this is always going to be a little bit of a struggle, but going forward I think you’ll see this get bigger and better,” he noted.
“In the upcoming years, we expect to double what we did here today,” added Shaw. “Considering we put this together in less than six weeks, it’s been outstanding.”
All in all, Shaw deemed the tournament a rousing success.
“To have the Mayor and Trustees allow us to block of Broad Street, and put up six basketball hoops is awesome,” he said. “First thing (Saturday) morning, we had 500 people lined up here at six baskets for basketball in September. It was quite a sight.
“It’s been great, and I can’t say enough about the support we received from the community,” added Shaw. “The people in the Valley had better be proud of what happened here today.”
IN PHOTO 1: Evan Davies and his mother Nikki Davies. … PHOTOS 2-13 BY TIM BIRNEY, ALLISON CUMMINGS (1, 14, and 17-24) and TINA DADDONA (15-16).
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