Texas high school basketball player dies during game
Feb. 12—ALTO — Devonte Mumphrey, 15, a sophomore member of the Alto High School basketball team, collapsed during a game and died Tuesday evening.
Mumphrey collapsed during the second quarter of the game against Mount Enterprise. Efforts were made to revive him at the scene, but were unsuccessful, according to witnesses. His cause of death was not released as of press time.
A very gifted athlete, Mumphrey was also a member of the Yellowjacket football team, where he won numerous post-season accolades. According to his obituary, he lived all his life in Alto and was a member of the Hilltop Baptist Church. He excelled in football, basketball and track and loved to rap. He had his own "homemade" studio in his bedroom closet.
The Alto community gathered for a candlelight vigil to honor his life Wednesday evening in the parking lot of Hilltop Baptist Church.
Family, friends, classmates and community members gathered to honor Mumphrey and share memories.
During his opening remarks, his Pastor Dusty Lee relayed a part of his interview with a news station earlier that day regarding Mumphrey's sudden death. He said he had been asked, "How are you going to make it?"
"I said what you don't know about Alto is we all come together. We have big hearts. We have strong faith in God and we come together and we lift each other up," Lee said.
Lionel Whitaker voiced the opening prayer, thanking God for the blessings received through Mumphrey and asked God to grant strength and comfort to the family, to bless them, and to bind the community together.
After a few verses of "Amazing Grace" were sung, Lee lit a candle in Mumphrey's memory. From that, he lit his own candle, shared his flame with a few others and then the light spread across the parking lot as each person lit the candles of those near them.
"Be the light for your neighbor; be the light for those around you," Lee said. "That doesn't stop here because Vonte would not want it to stop in this parking lot, because he would want you to continue showing the light of Christ to the many."
While his life was cut short, Mumphrey's influence was long, as was apparent by the more than 200 people who attended the vigil and the many who spoke highly of him.
Friends, family, classmates and teachers shared memories and thoughts about him, sometimes resulting in whispers of agreement and even, at times, eliciting laughter.
Mumphrey was repeatedly described as being an encouragement to others. One friend said he had a "heart of gold."
Teachers and other adults described him as polite and respectful, and the "kind of kid you want your kids to be around."
High School Principal Shanequa Redd-Dorsey affirmed Mumphrey was an exceptional student who was loved by all his teachers.
It was evident from the outpouring of support and the memories shared that he was well-loved and will be greatly missed in his community.
"We are devastated," said Jason Duplichain, an Alto businessman and Alto High School supporter.
"Vonte was my son Jackson's teammate and one of his best friends. Vonte was the District Newcomer of the Year for basketball in 2021 and District Newcomer of the Year as a running back this past fall. Great, wonderful young man. The best there is."
Courtney Peacock, a long-time friend of the family said his mother, Shameka Hackney Mumphrey, has been a substitute teacher for Alto for a long time.
"Vonte was a good kid," she said. "Just a sweet family that is always helping people out in any way that they can. This is a big loss for our community."
Funeral services are planned for Saturday, Feb. 12 at the Rusk High School Gymnasium.
This is the second time in a little over five years Alto High School has lost a player during a game.
In Oct. 2015, Cam'ron Matthews collapsed on the side lines while playing in a football game. Matthews died the following day at a Tyler hospital.