Last year, 40 teams took part in the annual Tessa’s Tournament a two-day girls basketball invitational in memory of the late Tessa Beauchamp, a star basketball player who passed away at the age of 18.
This year, for an online virtual version of the event, the number has dropped to 25, and and it is a good showing considering the pandemic, as far as her father, Steve Beauchamp, is concerned.
“We were quite pleased with with the response,” Beauchamp told the Langley Advance Times on Monday, Feb. 1.
Several coaches have been unable to take part, Steve explained.
“Kamloops (for example) has a COVID outbreak and they’re totally shut down, nobody can get in or out of the gym,” Beauchamp said.
READ ALSO: In memory of Tessa Beauchamp
Starting on Tuesday, Feb. 2 and running until Saturday, Feb. 6, the event begins with a head-to-head trick shots video competition, where competitors post clips to the the tessabeauchampfoundation Instagram account and players, coaches and supporters vote to determine the winner of each round.
Other contests will run through the week as well.
On Saturday, the event will wraps up with the announcement of four scholarship winners.
The annual event raises funds for the Tessa Beauchamp Foundation, which distributes scholarships for students as well as assists registered charities in their efforts both locally and internationally.
Donations can be made online at the Tessa Beauchamp Foundation website at tessabeauchamp.org.
READ ALSO: Thunder wear purple for Tessa Beauchamp
For years, the event has been backed by the the Langley Thunder Senior A lacrosse organization, which has raised funds by wearing, and auctioning off, special purple jerseys, Tessa’s favourite colour, during a regalar season game.
This year, the team has been idled by the coronavirus and is waiting for word on when play will resume.
Tessa was dating the son of Langley Thunder President Ken Buchan, who was also a teacher at Holy Cross, where Tessa attended.
Tessa passed away in 2012 after a long and painful battle with a rare type of cancer. But this was just part of the adversity she faced as when she was two years old, her dress caught on fire, resulting in third degree burns to more than 20 per cent of her body.
Known for her infectious smile and warm and happy disposition, she had earned a scholarship to play post-secondary basketball at Langley’s Trinity Western University.
First diagnosed with a cancerous growth in her inner ear in Grade 9, Tessa underwent multiple surgeries and radiation treatments.
In Grade 11, she played with an eye patch (a side effect from the radiation), and with no hearing in her right ear, and still managed to hit threes.
After the cancer returned in February of her Grade 12 year, it couldn’t stop her from suiting up with the Holy Cross Crusaders the following month at the BC senior girls provincial basketball championships.
“The cancer by this time was making it difficult for her to breathe and left her extremely fatigued,” Holy Cross coach Ryan Tyrrell recalled.
The Crusaders were facing Sa-Hali, a team which had knocked off Holy Cross in previous big matches and the game was played in front of a large and boisterous crowd with support for both sides.
“From the start, it was evident Tessa was putting in a performance to be remembered. She played close to 40 minutes, scoring 30 points and was a stalwart on defence and on the boards, single-handedly urging her team to victory and a place in the semifinals,” Tyrell said. “As in life and athletics, Tessa refused to give up. She simply could not accept ‘no’ for an answer.
She went on to earn provincial all-star honours.
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