Senior Mustangs fall to alumni teams

More than 100 spectators attended the annual event on Dec. 18

Nick Pauls

Over 100 spectators were in the stands for the annual Hope Secondary alumni games last Thursday evening.

Some were parents of the grads — a few with grandkids in tow — coming back to the gym where they’d spent many hours cheering on their sons or daughters. Others were parents, siblings or friends of the current players. All were out to support the school’s basketball program and have some pre-Christmas fun.

Madison Kuhn, who graduated last year, was the event organizer.

“I was thrilled with how the games went,” she said.

“We raised $600 which will be divided between the senior boys and girls basketball teams, and will help to pay for tournament costs.”

Spectators were invited to make cash donations at the entry door and that’s where most of the funds were raised — but there was also a toonie toss during the intermission, which raised another $170.

Local businesses were generous with the prizes they offered, said Kuhn.

Participants were given identifying stickers for their toonies and they tossed, rolled or slid their coins toward the prize cones. Closest coins were the winners.

“It’s always fun to have the alumni — and now I am one — play against the currents teams,” added Kuhn.

“It gives a good opportunity for the senior teams to practice some of their plays in a setting that is fun, and gives the alumni a good chance to get together and support our teams. This was a great event and we hope it will continue to grow and expand in years to come.”

Senior girls’ coach — and Madison’s dad — Jeff Kuhn said he felt it was a very successful night… despite ending up on the lower end of a lopsided score in the women’s game.

“I told my girls that everyone was going to play, so get out there and have fun.

“We wanted to give the community a fun experience and contribute to a good feel for basketball in the community. My girls just love playing against their teacher and vice-principal, Tammy Nazarchuk.”

Nazarchuk played for HSS in the 1980s and she contributed six points in Thursday’s game, as did teammates Taylor Kjemhus, and 2014 grad Jaimie Peters. Jaclyn McNicol netted eight points and Hannah Jarvis set the pace with a dozen from the floor.

“I asked Hannah ‘Where was that game when you were in Grade 12?’ and she just laughed!” said coach Kuhn.

In the men’s game, the grads got off to a quick start, giving them a 10-point lead that they would need at the end. Linden Willock, 2010 grad, led the way for the men with 13 points — but senior Mustang Blake Deschenes was on fire, scoring 16 points… 12 of them from outside the 3-point line.

Deschenes and Manee Warren (10 points) helped the Mustangs win the next two quarters but the grads got back on track to seal the win at 42-30.

Senior boys’ coach, Jake Giles, had some time on the court with his squad during the game and said he was really happy with their effort.

“The guys are learning to play with confidence, which is what we need.”

The boys travel to Barriere for a tournament on Jan. 9 and 10, then host a nine-team Hoopfest on the Jan. 16-17 weekend.