Morning Star Staff
Shoot hoops in a reunion setting while raising money for Vernon athletics.
That’s the premise for the inaugural Greater Vernon Alumni Basketball Tournament, Saturday and Sunday at the VSS Panther Pit.
Players from VSS, Fulton, Seaton, Pleasant Valley, Charles Bloom and Kalamalka secondary schools will play games starting Boxing Day.
This once informal alumni tournament organized by VSS graduates has grown and now welcomes teams from around Greater Vernon. There are 12 teams registered with at least one team representing every high school from school district #22 and PVSS.
“We have a team of organizers living across the country who have donated a lot of time to making this tournament a reality this year,” said Jeff Samuel, tournament co-founder and a graduate of VSS. “Our goal is to create an annual event where old friends (and foes) can gather to share some good times and sore muscles while cultivating a legacy of interest in local athletics and bringing a collective benefit to the community.”
In the spirit of good-natured competition, teams will compete to take home a portion of the proceeds on behalf of their school. Donations on behalf of the top three teams will be made to their representative school’s athletics department — with another portion of the proceeds awarded to the most ‘spirited’ team (as chosen by the teams) to be donated to a local charity of their choosing.
“It’s amazing to see the support and participation for basketball in Vernon,” said Andy Collins of Marble Slab Creamery, co-organizer and tournament sponsor. “Events like this are great for the spirit of our community, to see all these old faces competing on behalf of their old school is going to be amazing.”
Games start Saturday at 11:30 a.m. with the semifinals at noon and finals at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Tournament organizers said that they have already raised more than $3,000 dollars — with 100 per cent of proceeds returned to the community. Organizers are encouraging community members to get involved by simply coming out and cheering on the teams. Visit www.alumnibasketball.ca for game schedule and more information.
The Greater Vernon Alumni Basketball Facebook Group currently has more than 300 members: www.facebook.com/groups/vernonbasketball. Their website is: www.alumnibasketball.ca.