ASBURY, Ala. (WHNT) — A Marshall County basketball player died in a car crash in September 2011, which police say was caused by another driver dropping a cell phone.
Saturday morning, dozens of friends, family, and strangers came together for a tournament to establish a scholarship in memory of Austin Wayne Genry.
The 13-year-old was nicknamed “The Beast”, and he played basketball from kindergarten until eighth grade, when the car he was riding in was hit by a driver who crossed the median on Highway 431 in Boaz.
It was a heavy loss not just to his parents, Christie and Brandon, but to all of Asbury.
“The community really helped us, supported us and showed so much love, we felt like this would be a good way to show the school how much we appreciate them,” Christie said.
Last year the Gentrys provided scholarships for two seniors, and hope to continue to providing scholarships at least through 2016, the year Austin would have graduated.
His uncle, district attorney Steve Marshall, led a team of Marshall County investigators.
“Today is an opportunity to celebrate the life of an amazing young man, and to do it in a way that we give back to some other kids that could really use the help,” Marshall said.
Several of Austin’s teammates from the eighth grade Asbury basketball team played.
Roland Pointer’s team was called G-Force, and others had the words “Gentry,” “Beast,” or Austin’s number 5 on their shirts.
“I want to come out here and win, but there’s a lot of good teams so we just want to come out here in memory of him,” Pointer said.
He said his classmate often played jokes and quoted YouTube videos, and remembers the fifth period class they had together the day of the wreck.
“What he was going to do the next day was go dove hunting with his daddy and he never got the opportunity,” Pointer said.
“The next day I went in memory of him and just went hunting.”
Twenty-five teams signed up in September to participate in September, and the scholarship fundraiser took in more than $1,000.