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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Denmark community comes together to send Vikings to national tournament

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The Denmark-Olar basketball team will be traveling to Washington, Illinois, to take part in the Washington Invitational basketball tournament. The Denmark community raised nearly $6,000 this summer to help pay for the cost of transportation and meals for the team. The drive was led by Latitia Dowling (far right). The team is also joined by LaTaryl Atterberry-Youmans, a niece of Timothy E. Freeman.

The Denmark community helped raise nearly $6,000 to help send the Denmark-Olar basketball team to a national tournament in Washington, Illinois.

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Letitia Dowling, and her organization, Denmark Cares, sounded the call in June shortly after the team had been invited to play in the annual tournament.

“I was contacted about the invitation, and it was explained how much money it was going to take to travel,” Dowling said. “I was asked if the community would be able to support the team on their trip.”

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Dowling and her organization launched the Timothy E. Freeman Legacy Sponsors in June. The name was used to honor a longtime Denmark resident.

(NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Mr. Freeman died of COVID in 2021. According to his family, he did not die from COVID-19.)

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“(Freeman) worked a number of years for the Denmark community,” Dowling said. “He’s a hallmark of the community and our sports programs. I immediately contacted the family because I wanted to do this in his honor. I knew if he were alive it would have been something he would do for this team.”

Dowling originally asked the community to raise $4,000 for transportation. She was thinking it would take all fall before being able to reach the goal.

“Within almost two weeks we had hit $4,000,” Dowling said. “I increased the number to $5,700 and we hit that after three weeks. I don’t know if I was more tearful of getting the invitation, or how the community has responded.”

Minus a $200 donation from U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, Dowling said everything else has come from community members, alumni or friends of the city. She said the money is being used for transportation and $100 stipend for meals for each of the players on the team.

“This means a lot for our community,” Dowling said. “Our young men don’t have a lot travel opportunities outside of the 29042 area code. They travel the state, but to go to Illinois as a team and represent the community is something I don’t think we’ve seen in almost 30 years.”

The Vikings will take part in the Kevin Brown Memorial Tournament of Champions. They will be in the Washington Invitational bracket that begins Wednesday, Nov. 24.

“The kids are excited to play up there,” D-O head coach Hercules Davis said. “We leave early Tuesday morning around 2 a.m., rest and get ready to play on Wednesday. This team is a great group with a lot of junior talent. They are ready to go.”

Leading the team is UofSC signee Zachary Davis. The senior said the trip will be a good experience for him and his teammates.

“It will be nice to get a chance to see how some of the other teams around the country play (basketball),” Davis said.

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