Basketball tournament brings more than 100 people to remember Buchanan resident murdered in Mishawaka

Published 9:52 am Monday, February 25, 2019

BUCHANAN — Saturday morning inside Buchanan High School, the sound of basketballs drumming against the gym floor echoed throughout the hallways.

The sound was an indication that the Avery Brown Classic 3 on 3 Tournament was about to begin. The inaugural event honored beloved Buchanan resident, Avery Christopher Brown. The tournament included live music, a raffle, and barbecue sponsored by Curly Q’s BBQ. Proceeds from the event were donated to Brown’s mom, Linda Brown.

Avery was fatally shot on Sept. 21, 2018, inside Bleacher’s, a Mishawaka bar. Timothy Mayberry has been arrested and charged with his murder. Since the tragedy, friends and family have rallied to keep Avery’s legacy on the court and in the Buchanan community alive. Saturday’s event, which organizers hope to make a tradition, was one example.

More than 100 people packed the Buchanan High School gym to take part in the competition or watch the action. Event organizer Jeff Kyles grew up with Avery. Both attended Buchanan High School and were brought together through a love of basketball. Sunday would have been Avery’s 29th birthday, so Kyles said it was an ideal time to pay homage to him and the sport he loved so much.

“It’s beautiful [to see this many people] for it being as early as it is,” Kyles said.

Many who attended the event Saturday knew Avery and had memories to share about how he had made a difference in their lives.

Mia Brown, 18, of Buchanan, and Shaelei Brown, 17, formerly of Niles, grew up trying to pick up basketball moves from their older cousin, Avery, on the court. On Saturday, they wore basketball uniforms and prepared to compete in the women’s competition. 

“He made me become a shooter,” Mia said. “Avery was a great jumper and [he said] ‘You can do it too.’”

The cousins recalled many of Brown’s qualities that made him so beloved by those who knew him.

“He loved everybody, his friends, his family,” Shaelei said. “That was his main thing.”

To remind people of all the words that described Brown, T-shirts were made with an illustration of him and words that characterized him, including “loyal,” “humble,” “creative” and “smooth.” Kay Cashier was among those sporting the shirt during the tournament.

Cashier said she lived next door to Brown and got to know him and his family well. Her daughter Hayley Cashier went to school with Brown. Hayley helped to organize a vigil for Brown last fall shortly after his death.

“His mother has been so strong throughout all of this and we want to continue to support her in any way that we can,” Cashier said.

She said just like Avery did in life, his legacy was continuing to bring people together.

“Through the tragedy, there is greatness coming out of it,” Cashier said.

Kyles said he hopes to make the event a community tradition.

Linda addressed the crowd and thanked them for showing the family support. She also said she intends to donate a portion of the funds she receives for a scholarship in her son’s name.

Avery’s sister Melissa Vaughn, of South Bend, said the family appreciated seeing so many people come together to remember him.

“It feels good to see the support,” she said. “Avery was one-of-a-kind. He was just that person. We are grateful to Jeff and everyone keeping his memory alive.”