LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- With the crowd cheering on, every shot carries a little more intensity. It's just the way they want it.
"Nobody wants to lose," Devin Gentry, one of the players, said. "No matter what it's for, nobody wants to lose."
It's an intense basketball tournament played on the hardwood of a local YMCA, the brainchild of several young men sick of seeing their loved ones taken by gun violence.
"I go to school out of state, and every time I come back, somebody's gone," Gentry said. "So it's like eventually that has to stop."
"Instead of getting revenge on everybody, instead of bringing the person who you can have a beef with, who you can have a problem with, bring them together," Kamron Cuff, one of the tournament's organizers, said.
For Cuff, the 19-year-old said he has seen too often the cycle of violence repeat itself over and over again. He said it was seeing the pattern of death that spurred him to get with his friends to get something done.
"It's more than going back and hitting the person. That's not doing nothing but making another mama cry, another family lost," he said. "And that's just repeating the cycle, so we want to put a stop to the cycle."
"It's so easy to pick up the gun and shoot the person and you're right in prison," Marcus Clark, Cuff's friend and fellow organizer, said. "You can't do anything with your life. You just wasted it. So it's all about using your life for something that's actually going to make a difference."
The friends decided to create "Shooting for Peace," a basketball tournament, where shooting takes on a different meaning on the hardwood than on the streets.
"The only thing that's going to go wrong with basketball is if somebody argues about a foul or something so we're just trying to keep it that way," Clark said.
"That's all we're doing - trading a bullet for a ball. And every time you score, you're scoring a point instead of scoring a life. That's the difference today," Cuff said. "If you've got a problem with that guy, cross him. Take his ball. Dunk on him. That's the goal for the night."
At stake, this evening is more than just bragging rights, but a lesson of life and death.
"There are many ways other than picking up a gun or doing something you'll regret later in life," Gentry said.
It's about bringing people together and teaching them the value of life - shooting for peace.
Cuff said the proceeds from this year's tournament will be going to an elementary school. He said he will be surprising the school early in the new year, hoping to be a role model for the young students.
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