The Summerland Secondary School gym was alive and full of energy on Dec. 22 as the annual Homecoming/Alumni Basketball Tournament took place.
In this event, high school alumni return from all walks of life to participate against each other and the current Rockets teams.
The annual tournament is organized by ex-grad Don Walker.
Basketball alumni representing a range of ages play on age grouped teams, and this year they ranged from 15-year-old Neal Rutherford to 60-something Howard Wiens.
One of the goals of the get together is to give back to the program, so all participants who play in the games pay a fee which helps to build a basketball fund at Summerland Secondary.
For this year’s tournament, four men’s teams and two women’s team took part in the annual competition.
In the first game, the current Rockets senior boys team took on the perennial sore and stiff “Old Guys” team (pre grad 2001) and the game proved to be a barn burner.
In the end, the Old Grads pulled out an exciting last second shot to defeat the young guns by a score of 69-68.
High scorer for the senior Rockets was Trevor Parkinson with 21 points and Gary Greg led the Old Guys with 20 points.
In the second game of the tourney, the Grad 2008-2011 team took on the perennial favourite Grad 2002-2007 team and and earned a tough 45-40 victory.
The strong ‘02-07 team has consistently won the tournament in recent years, so this was a celebrated victory for the ‘08-11 team.
Josh Thornton led the victorious team with 20 points.
In the third game of the tournament, it was the women’s turn to play.
In this game, the Grad 2012 team took on the Grad 2011 and earlier team and in a surprising upset the older grads defeated the youngsters by a 64-46 score.
In this match, Jenny Bergstrom was the dominant force, accounting for 36 of the winning team’s points.
Tama Corday quarterbacked the attack with a flurry of excellent passes.
Lauren Antonivich was the leading scorer for the Grad 2012 team with a strong 17 points.
In the boys consolation final, the Grad ‘08-11 team took on the senior Rockets.
Despite a limited bench, coach Dave Stathers’ team hung in there and fought to the final buzzer, despite being on the losing side of the 75-64 score.
Grade 10 athlete Abhi Lekhi had his strongest game of the year and contributed an impressive 28 points.
In the tournament final, the old grads were up against the much younger Grad ‘08-11 team.
In an exciting see-saw battle, the old guys somehow dug deep and pulled out another close final minute victory, 68-63.
Josh Thornton and Harish Anand were the top scorers for the young grads, with 20 and 15 points respectively.
Chris Ward led the scorers for the old guys with 14 points, while Gary Greg and Tony Colgur contributed 13 points each.
After the final buzzer, the team seemed more relieved than excited, possibly due to the sore knees and tormented muscles.
All in all it was a great affair, with many grads reconnecting with old friends, along with some competitive and enjoyable Summerland Secondary School basketball.