Morning Star Staff
Older, wiser, slower but still in love with hoops.
Alumni of Vernon, Fulton, Kalamalka, Seaton, Pleasant Valley and Charles Bloom Secondary schools hit the Panther Pit last weekend for the inaugural Greater Vernon Alumni Basketball Tournament to raise money for local athletics.
“It was pretty special to see the gym filled with familiar faces,” said Rob Gray, tournament co-organizer. “I was humbled by the number of people who took time out of their busy holiday schedule to attend.”
The 12-team tournament was dominated by the teams representing Fulton. The ‘Fulton Oldest Maroons’ claimed first place in a hard-fought 45-32 win over the ‘Old School Maroons’.
The ‘Fulton Hawks’ defeated ‘VSS: Mcluckie’ 46-43 in an exciting third-place overtime game.
The ‘CBSS Timberwolves’ were awarded the Most Spirited team award (chosen by the teams); as a result the Greater Vernon Alumni Basketball scholarship will be awarded to a deserving CBSS student next year.
The charity event will be donating 100 per cent of proceeds to the winning teams’ athletics departments — Fulton sweeping the purses this year.
“Thanks to tournament organizers for hosting a class event and to all those fans that came out to support all the athletes,” said Fulton athletics director Dale Olson. “We will have some money to re-invest in our basketball program for uniforms and equipment for current and future athletes.”
Organizers are already thinking about 2016.
“There is a clear message that Vernon has an appetite for an annual alumni tournament,” said tournament co-organizer Jeff Samuel. “We are definitely excited to see this tradition continue to grow and contribute to Vernon athletics.”
The players gave the tourney a big thumbs up.
Said Morgan Ellis (Fulton Oldest Guys): “It was a great tourney, letting us old boys re-live the glory days. This is a great event to remember our basketball routes and connect with old friends. Not to mention the impact it will have on the basketball community in Vernon. Looking forward to years to come.”
Added Olson: “The tourney was a total success for the alumni and current players. I felt very proud as a coach to see our Maroon alumni out competing again, also the alumni from the other schools, visiting with them and catching up on their lives. They competed with grace but weren’t always graceful.”