LACASSINE, LA (KPLC) - A Lacassine man organized a basketball tournament over the weekend to raise money for his friend's memorial scholarship in honor of his daughter he lost three years ago.
Gilbert Duhe and Bill Deleplank met 15 years ago in Oklahoma and shared a common interest: basketball.
"I was a local high school coach. He and my nephew and some of the other kids that played ball with Gil would use my gym and practice with my team. He has been a great guy and he has been a blessing to know"
That friendship continued, even when Duhe moved to Louisiana. Three years ago, Bill lost his daughter, Brooklyn. She was fifteen years old. She was a daddy's girl, who shared her father's love of basketball. Bill started a memorial scholarship in honor of his daughter to help students at Carl Albert State College pursuing a medical degree. Duhe decided he wanted to help his friend out by raising money by hosting a basketball tournament.
"We decided to do a tournament and it's just something I've been wanting to do for the family."
Enough people participated to create 18 teams and they raised $2500. The tournament and the proceeds were all kept a secret from Bill for two months. The cat was let out of the bag about 20 miles from Vinton, and when Bill realized the true reason they came down to Louisiana.
"I cried. These guys knew about it and kept it from me, but I didn't have a clue, and just cried like a baby."
Brooklyn wanted to be an oncologist when she grew up, inspired to cure the disease that took her grandfather. The scholarship will go towards students. Bill said one student is already being considered.
"Maybe they can get it done, get it taken care of. The cancer."
A great event, for an even greater cause. All the proceeds from Sunday's event will go towards the Brooklyn Deleplank memorial scholarship to help with students pursuing a medical degree.