File photo: Denise Civiletti

The 13th annual Stop the Violence basketball tournament will take place this weekend at the Horton Avenue park in Riverhead.

The double-elimination tournament starts at 9 a.m. Saturday and continues all day, then picks up again on Sunday at 9 a.m. for the semi-finals and finals.

Admission is free for spectators.

“Just come down, grab a seat and watch the teams play ball,” said tournament cofounder and organizer Dwayne Eleazer. “The games are great to watch.”

Teams come from across the region to play in the tournament and compete for a prize of $5,000.

The idea of the tournament is to stop street violence by providing an environment where people can make acquaintances, get to know each other and build friendships, Eleazer said.

“When people get to know each other, they are less likely to engage in violent behavior,” he said.

He founded the tournament with Larry Williams, who recently retired and moved out of town. Williams’ son Eric stepped in, Eleazer said.

“Eric picked up where Larry left off. He hit the ground running,” Eleazer said.

The tournament is played at the town park, where the basketball court got a new epoxy surface a few years back. Two years ago, the town installed a scoreboard with a donation from Columbia Care, a company that operates a medical marijuana dispensary in Riverhead. Eleazer credited Councilwoman Jodi Giglio for making that donation happen.

“It’s a good time for everyone and a great way to build friendships,” he said.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.