Everything old was new again Saturday at the Holiday Hoops Alumni Basketball Classic at Kenai Central High School gymnasium. The rivalries between Kenai and Soldotna High were revived during the men's alumni game and the "Old Timers" game and the struggle for supremacy flared up again between the alumnae of the North Road and the recently graduated Kardinals women.
But what was most important, was that everybody had a good time.
"It's a lot of fun," said Jim Montgomery, this year's tournament director. "That's what it's all about. Seeing the kids come back and have fun."
The players enjoyed the opportunity to face one another on the hardwood.
"It might seem like it's intense," said Nikiski alumna Mary Glaze,"but after you leave high school, it's good to be in competitive situations."
Teams from Skyview, Nikiski, Soldotna, Cook Inlet Academy and Kenai participated in the tournament that went all day Saturday, and a special game of "Old Timers" was featured between the women's and men's finals.
The victories on the men's side were split with SoHi taking the alumni men's victory 57-51 over the Kardinals, and Kenai's Old-timers coming from behind to steal a win from the seasoned Stars, 65-60.
The alumni Stars were led in there winning effort by Mike Metteer, who scored 21 points and led all scorers. Metteer netted three 3-point buckets in the first two minutes of the game and followed with two more in the second half.
Metteer's triple-triple volley got the stars off to quick start and that the Kardinals couldn't rebound from. By the half, the Kards were down by eight points, missing opportunities to capitalize on SoHi turnovers and committing many of their own in the process.
Willie Castillo was the lead scorer for the Kardinals with 10 points, including two 3-point nets.
Kenai alum Vashon Weaver was the high scorer in the Old Timer's contest, logging 18 points, hitting twice from beyond the three-point range.
Quick ball-handling by the Stars' Trent O'Reagan had SoHi out and running like a well-oiled machine and up by five points by half-time.
But Kenai's Shorty Johnson and Kevin Stocker combined for 17 points in the second half, leading the Kardinals on a 20-9 run that knocked the Stars out of the game.
Old Time Star Kevin Davis led SoHi with 14 points, netting four from beyond the three-point line.
In the women's alumnae game, the Nikiski squad was able to stave off a last-minute Kenai run to prevail over the Kardinals 35-28.
Lindsy Glaze dropped a succession of five points -- a three-pointer and a layup -- in the last minutes of the second half that took the wind from the Kardinal's wings. She led the Bulldogs with seven points overall.
Mendy Benson was the high-scoring Kenai alumna with seven points.
Although the competition was stiff, it all came back to getting together with old friends and beat that opposing school one more time for old time's sake. O'Reagan said he looks forward each year to matching up against his old cross-town opponents.
"It's always good to renew the Kenai-Soldotna rivalry," he said.
Kenai alumna Charise Carlson played in the tournament for her fourth time and said she comes back each year for two reasons.
"All of us are really good friends," she said. "It's really fun to get together with all of them."
And her other reason for playing?
"The whole rivalry thing."
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