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Emma Duerstock, mom Victoria Duerstock and dad Rob Duerstock are helping to plan, organize and stage the 3-on-3 Basketball Challenge at Longview Point Baptist Church in Hernando Saturday, beginning with registration at 10 a.m.

A husband and wife team who along with other members of their church have the goal of helping others, especially disadvantaged youth, is showing what true teamwork can do.

Roo and Victoria Duerstock of Hernando, along with their children, are among the main volunteers staging the 3-on-3 Basketball Classic at Longview Point Baptist Church, located at the corner of Byhalia and McIngvale roads in Hernando.

"This is the fourth year we've done it," said Rob Duerstock, adding that youth in his church are able to interact with youth in a disadvantaged part of their community.

"We've given away a thousand basketballs," added Duerstock, a native of Connersville, Indiana, who moved to Hernando from Pensacola, Fla., along with his wife and three children. "We use the basketball to tell the story of salvation."

The specially-designed basketballs sport different shades, stripes and colors that each tell a part of the redemption and salvation story of Jesus Christ.

Daughter Emma, 17, picks up the story from here.

"The black stripe represents the sin in our lives, the red represents Jesus and the blood he shed on the cross, the ultimate sacrifice for us - the white signifies the purity of Christ's love in that He wipes the slate clean for us and the green represents the growth we have when we invite Christ. I think it's a fantastic way to reach out to kids that we might not know and make a connection and new friendships."

The family has lived in the DeSoto County area for the past nine years and has been connected with the ministry at Longview Point Baptist Church since it began, a church plant from Lifepoint Church in Senatobia.

Victoria Duerstock said Longview Point serves people from all walks of life and reaches out to individuals from across the racial and socioeconomic divide.

"We wanted to find a way to get out of the four walls of the church and share the love and joy of Jesus Christ," said Victoria. "A lot of kids play basketball in the West End and we wanted to give them a way to share in having fun."

Rob Duerstock said local businesses become involved with the event and are providing free prizes and services.

"Most of what we have to offer as way of prizes are from our local businesses which jumped in," Duerstock said. "We've even had optometrists who are giving free eye exams. Last year we had 111 people turn out and we expect more this year."

Both Victoria and Rob Duerstock said the church is also giving away basketball goals and free T-shirts to persons on the winning team.

The 3-on-3 annual Basketball Classic competition also features a free throw contest and three-point contest open to everyone. Men and ladies age 18 and up are eligible. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and the contests begin at 11 a.m. The tournament begins at noon. Prizes will be given away throughout the day and will include Grizzlies tickets and gift cards. A signed permission slip from parents is required. The winning team receives $500.

For more information visit www.3on3atthepoint.com, Facebook 3-on-3 at the Point or call 662-469-2234.

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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