The first time Brian Rudolph played in the Monte Park summer basketball tournament, he was only 15 years old. It was a men's tournament that was played only for fun, but the New Bedford star was able to hang with grown men on the court.

The tournament eventually shifted into a cash award format, the love of the game still fundamental, but the cash was designed to draw the area's best talent and up the ante a bit. With Rudolph's basketball club Next Level Factory Dartmouth, that ante was bumped all the way up to $10,000 this past weekend. The tournament was dubbed the "Peter Britto Classic Vol. 1."

Then, the unthinkable happened when a gunman opened fire.

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"The first two or three shots, I stood up to look where the noise was coming from. I thought, 'those aren't fireworks.' I heard gunshots before," Rudolph said. "Then a couple more rang out. I had to get down so I didn't get hit by a stray bullet. Luckily, no one got hit. The guy was just shooting them in the air before he ran and got away."

That guy, police believe, is a 27-year-old convicted drug dealer from Brockton, Shane Sims.  Rudolph said he has an enormous amount of relief that the suspect has "no ties to New Bedford."

As scary as the incident was, Rudolph said there was no way he wasn't going to finish the tournament properly.

"We only had two games left. So many negative things happen. So many things get painted in a negative light, especially in our city of New Bedford. I served as motivation," he said. "I said, 'We've got to finish this. We can't let the bad outweigh the good.'"

Rudolph vows to bring the basketball tournament right back to Monte Park next summer. He plans on having the Peter Britto Classic Vol. 2 over the weekend of the Cape Verdean parade in July.

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