SIDNEY - It was a night to remember for the 200 players, fans and family member who were part of the 11th annual Alumni Basketball Night Saturday, November 30 at the Sidney High School gym. For the players, the word "adapting" seems to fit nicely, as generations meshed and a "call your own" system worked out just fine. A near-record participation level made for an entertaining evening of hoops and memories.
23 Sidney graduates over 22 years participated in the Old-Timers game first. The reliable Doug Fessenden manned a squad of guys in their forties, fifties and even sixties! Fess had the oldest alumni (by his own suggestion) and his "boys" made it a game against the younger old-timers, as witnessed by the 29-all half-time score.
Leading the way in that first-half for Fessy's team were Dave Gill (Class of '69) with nine points and John Elwood ('74) with six. Meanwhile, the younger group, led by "Player/Coach" Greg Davie ('76), saw nine of their 13 players score. Actually 12, since Scott Dewey ('81) mysteriously appeared at half-time.
Also at half-time, a new shooting champion was crowned in the name of Steve Schaeffer ('69). After earning a berth in the finals earlier in the day by winning a three-way shoot-off, Old Shifty nudged out Don Pierce ('84) to claim the night's first trophy.
When the second half resumed, the age difference started taking its toll. The legs of the younger graduates, although much slower than they were during their high school days, stayed fresher longer. Again the balanced scoring paid off as the boys of Team Davie ran up a sizable lead. While the final score read 71-51, the scorebook accounts for only 69 points on the winning side. So officially it's 69-51.
The leading scorers on Team Davie were Don Pierce with 11, Tom Woodruff ('82) with ten, Steve Fessenden ('76) with nine and Greg Kott ('82) with eight. Everyone scored on this team, but it was the last to score, Jeff Hathaway ('80) who won MVP honors. "Hatch" gladly passed the ball enough times to garner 7 assists - an unofficial Alumni record - and the votes of his teammates for MVP.
In the nightcap, rules were bent to allow for a "call your own" game in the absence of any referees. This meant no foul shots were taken, an alumni game record that may need an asterisk by it! Again, the second game featured an oldest vs youngest format, with the exception of Paul Hamilton III ('01) who joined the older group to play with his dad (Paul J. '77) and uncle (Mike '81). Both had already played in the old-timers game and somehow had enough energy to create the first two-generation pairing in the same game.
And the guys with more gray actually took the early lead! Hot shooting by Scott Schalk ('89), Jerry Warner ('93) and Ted Boice ('92) pushed the Hamilton team to a quick 15 point lead. The younger squad, captained by Craig Dawson ('98) put their 1998 State Championship team on the floor but found out how history doesn't necessarily repeat itself. However, inside strength by Jon Carvin ('00) and Dawson helped work the newest alumni back to trail 37-28 at half-time.
Shooting contest seemed to be an oxymoron for this group at half- time. Jon Carvin and Ben Hurd ('97) squared off with Ben edging out Jon nine points (out of a possible 25) to six.
Like in the first game, youth won out in the second half. Sidney's all- time leading scorer Eric Miley ('00) found his outside range while Dawson made it his mission to lead the comeback with his inside game. Craig scored 16 of his 20 points after the intermission, paving the way for a major comeback.
Once the score was tied (55) and several times the lead changed hands. Team Hamilton fought gamely but despite their balanced attack, their tank was empty. Final Score 74-67. Craig Dawson was selected game MVP and led all scorers with 20 points. He was joined in double figures by Jon Carvin and Eric Miley with 12 points apiece.
For Team Hamilton, three players shared the team high of 13 points: Ted Boice, Scott Schalk and Paul Hamilton III. Jerry Warner chipped in ten and all 20 players scored in the game.
Thank-yous all around to those who played or watched in this year's game, whose proceeds go to benefit the Tri-Town Boys and Girls Club as well as continue a scholarship to a basketball senior at graduation. Thanks also to the following: Bob Fralicker for overseeing nearly every aspect of the annual event, Steve Schaeffer for his support and social responsibilities (as in the post game reception at Toddie's), Don Wood Jr. for reffing the Old-Timers game, plus Tony Zieno of A-Z Sports, WCDO, Sidney Booster Club and the Sidney Alumni Association for their part in helping to make this year's game the best ever.
For photos of this year's game, please click here