5th Annual Jesse Lujan Memorial Basketball Tournament in Selma

5th Annual Jesse Lujan Memorial Basketball Tournament in Selma (KMPH)

They are hosting one of the Valley's biggest high school basketball tournaments in Selma right now.

As FOX26 Sports Reporter Nick King shows us, the Jesse Lujan Memorial is also one of the area's most meaningful.

Sixteen Valley teams are spending the end of their holiday break in Selma, from Wednesday through Saturday, they'll play basketball all day... because that's exactly the way Jesse Lujan would have wanted it.

Selma High basketball coach Mike Pallesi said, "He loved to play basketball. If he wasn't in the gym, he was out at Schaffer Park or Lincoln or somewhere playing. And the bigger the game, the better he played."

Jesse’s high school girlfriend, Serena Ramirez said, "He always would make that last basket that we needed - always come in clutch, he would say."

Little Jesse, as family members called him, was a star for the Bears, likely to play basketball in college.

But 5 1/2 years ago, the summer before his senior year of high school, Jesse died in a car crash.

Serena - "He was outgoing, fun, happy, always smiling..."

A young man who so many loved is far from forgotten.

This is the 5th annual Jesse Lujan Memorial Tournament put on through the combined efforts of Bears head coach Mike Pallesi, and the Lujan family.

More than twenty close relatives and friends run the snack bar, the front door and an enormous hospitality tent at two different gyms in town.

Jesse Lujan, Jesse’s dad said, "He loved basketball and he loved family, and he loves his friends. So we can all be together at once and do something he loved, and I can sit around and reminisce with all the kids he played with, all the coaches he played against..."

On top of working no less than 14 hours a day to make this tournament smooth and special, the Lujan's also raise several thousand dollars every year to award five players with scholarships. "They do it for Jesse. And, so, I think that's the one thing that keeps them going and keeps the tournament going, is their love for him," said Coach Pallesi.