‘Family reunion’: Derby native brings Valley together on basketball court

Photo of Brian Gioiele
Ronté Byrd, with his wife, Jasmine, has organized the second annual Valley alumni basketball tournament to be held Saturday, July 9, 2022, and feature teams from Shelton, Seymour, Derby, Woodland, Naugatuck and Ansonia.

Ronté Byrd, with his wife, Jasmine, has organized the second annual Valley alumni basketball tournament to be held Saturday, July 9, 2022, and feature teams from Shelton, Seymour, Derby, Woodland, Naugatuck and Ansonia.

Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

DERBY — Ronté Byrd’s dream came true last year when he used his love of basketball to help unite the Valley, at least for one day. Now the goal is to do it again.

Byrd, a 2011 graduate of Derby High School who once graced its basketball courts as a player, has once again organized the CBT Valley Alumni Basketball Tournament - a hoops battle featuring teams from Shelton, Seymour, Derby, Naugatuck, Woodland and defending tourney champ Ansonia High School on Saturday at Derby High.

“This is more like a family reunion,” said Byrd, owner and founder of Coach Byrd Training LLC (CBT) and an assistant boys’ basketball coach at Amity High School.

“Last year we had an amazing first year and we hope to continue the tradition,” Byrd added. “It’s great to see a bunch of the alumni come back and reconnect with everyone.”

Last year’s success allowed Byrd to expand the tournament field, adding Naugatuck and Woodland, while also creating a Valley high school All-Star game to open the festivities.

The tournament will be on Saturday at Derby High School. The event, which will feature a DJ, raffles and refreshments, begins at 11 a.m., with game one, the Valley High School All-Star Game, tipping off at 11:30 p.m.

Representing Shelton High on the All-Star squad is Simar Rodriguez.

That will be followed by the alumni basketball games - Derby vs. Woodland at 12:30 p.m., Naugatuck vs. Seymour at 1:30 p.m., Ansonia vs. the Derby/Woodland winner at 2:30 p.m., and Shelton vs. the Naugatuck/Seymour winner at 3:30 p.m. The championship game will tip off at 4:30 p.m.

“The winners will receive the CBT trophy, gold medals and, of course, bragging rights,” Byrd said.

The Shelton alumni roster features Jon Fernandez, Christian Pierre, Jeff Norko, Nick Corkery, Mike Davis, Kyle Davis, Matt Wilson, John Rullan, Brian Belade and Joey Alarcon.

“An event that brings the Valley together as a whole has always been an aspiration of mine,” said Byrd. “I hope for this to be an annual event and for the younger generation to look forward to participating when they graduate high school.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com