Basketball courts

Berkley basketball courts dedicated to the memory of the boys who died in an accident

Michael J. DeCicco

BERKLEY – The Crosby-Couto Memorial basketball court in the town of the city was already a success before its grand opening ceremony on June 12.

Kim Robidoux, a member of the Crosby-Couto Basketball Foundation, said people started playing on the twin courts – built in memory of two Somerset Berkley Regional High School graduates who died in a car crash in March 2020 – as soon as that the four hoops were installed on March 20. But the meaning of this new build only became clear when the basketball coaches of the late Devyn Crosby, 18, and the late Christian Couto, 19, removed their jersey numbers and returned them framed to their parents at the start of the ceremony.

It was at this point that Devyn’s mother Lisa Crosby and Christian’s mother Tania Couto both had tears in their eyes – like many in the crowd – as the ceremony concluded with a rendition of “Star Spangled Banner” sung by Emily Nawocki, Devyn and Christian’s classmate from Berkley Schools and now a student at the Berklee School of Music.

A poster with pictures of Devyn Crosby and Christian Couto hung from a nearby fence.

Shortly after the deaths of the two young men, the Crosby-Couto Basketball Foundation was formed to commemorate the couple, best friends with a passion for basketball, by renovating the city’s common grounds in their names. The Go-Fund Me page that the group started last June raised over $ 50,000, and organizers drew up plans that included expanding and resurfacing existing courts and adding benches, security and, above all, plaques engraved with their names on a stone memorial. at the head of the courts.

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The inauguration went as planned. Workers finished painting the courthouse last Thursday, Robidoux said. All that’s left to do, she says, is install the fence that will separate the two courts. The work, she said, was done entirely with private funds and donations and materials that were either donated or purchased cheaply.

Jeff, Tania and Alexandria Couto, with Christian's jersey, at the inauguration of the basketball courts built in memory of Christian Couto and Devyn Crosby.

Tania Couto, who was there with Christian’s father, Jeff Couto, and 14-year-old sister Alexandria, said she was amazed at the large attendance at the opening ceremony. “I would like to thank everyone who participated in the making of this tribunal,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to remember them the way they should be. “

She said she knew exactly what her son would do if he was there for the ceremony. “He would be surprised,” she said. “He would be smiling ear to ear right now.”

Bruce, Lisa and Brianna Crosby, in Devyn's sweater, at the inauguration of the basketball courts in memory of Devyn Crosby and Christian Couto.

Lisa Crosby, who was there with Devyn’s father Bruce Crosby and sister Brianna, 22, said she was “relieved” to see the effort to create the memorial court come to fruition. “It’s amazing,” she said. “It’s wonderful. He (Devyn) would be very happy.”

Emily Nawrocki, a graduate with Devyn Crosby and Christian Couto of Somerset Berkey Regional High School, sings the national anthem with Lisa Crosby on the left and Tania, Jeff and Alexandria Couto on the right.

The ceremony included a court blessing by Father Jason Brilhante of St. John of God Church in Somerset. Another former classmate of Devyn and Christian, Jared Painten, announced that he is hosting a ‘three on three’ basketball tournament to follow the ceremony, with entrance fees going to the maintenance fund of the court. Painten said 69 players signed up for the tournament and $ 690 was raised, not including expected revenue from raffle tickets and popcorn sales.

The basketball courts, seen at the start of the week, before the consecration.

After the tournament, he had planned a raffle on a half court: a basketball shot for $ 1; five for $ 3. Painten said he played on the new field before June 12. “It is the most beautiful land of all the surrounding towns,” he said. “It’s a lovely yard to remember them (Devyn and Christian). I grew up with them. We are all blessed to know that they have been a part of our lives.”