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Reuniting with old friends

CONVAL ALUMNI BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

  • The 1st annual ConVal Alumni Basketball Tournament was held on Saturday, July 27, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 1st annual ConVal Alumni Basketball Tournament was held on Saturday, July 27, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 1st annual ConVal Alumni Basketball Tournament was held on Saturday, July 27, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 1st annual ConVal Alumni Basketball Tournament was held on Saturday, July 27, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 1st annual ConVal Alumni Basketball Tournament was held on Saturday, July 27, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 1st annual ConVal Alumni Basketball Tournament was held on Saturday, July 27, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 1st annual ConVal Alumni Basketball Tournament was held on Saturday, July 27, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 1st annual ConVal Alumni Basketball Tournament was held on Saturday, July 27, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 1st annual ConVal Alumni Basketball Tournament was held on Saturday, July 27, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 1st annual ConVal Alumni Basketball Tournament was held on Saturday, July 27, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 1st annual ConVal Alumni Basketball Tournament was held on Saturday, July 27, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 1st annual ConVal Alumni Basketball Tournament was held on Saturday, July 27, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 1st annual ConVal Alumni Basketball Tournament was held on Saturday, July 27, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

The list of names playing in Saturday 1st annual ConVal Alumni Basketball Tournament represent some of the best times in the school’s basketball history.

There was Jamie LeFlem, the school’s all-time leading scorer and member of ConVal’s last championship team in 1994, playing with a handful of his old teammates. The Abbott brothers, Ray and Phil, played with the likes of Hunter and Clint Burgess, Kevin Chapman and Dana Hennessey on a team that consisted of graduates from 1974-89.

The most recent graduating classes were also represented with the likes of Jake Bacon, Anthony Faccidomo and Marena and Monique Brock.

And the hope is that even more of the rich basketball tradition will be present for next year’s event on July 26, 2014. Because after Saturday’s turn out and the good time that everyone seemed to have, the alumni tournament looks to be heading toward becoming a piece of ConVal’s history.

“We thought the first annual Alumni Basketball Tournament was a great success. To have players from Ray Abbott [Class of 1974] all the way to the current varsity players competing, interacting and having fun is what the tournament is all about,” said Ben Bacon, who helped get the tournament going.

For the day, which split time between the new ConVal gymnasium and South Meadow School, six men’s and three women’s teams took part in the first event and things could not have gone any better.

“It’s a great day for the program,” said boys varsity coach Peter Pierce. “This is exactly what we need.”

There were laughs with old friends, reminiscing moments about the good old days and even some quality basketball games.

“It’s good to catch up with old friends because it’s people that you not only played basketball with, but you played football with and ran track with,” said Chris Lawes, a 2003 graduate.

In the end, it was the men’s team made up of graduates from 2000-06 that took home the inaugural title in double overtime, 42-35, against a group that consisted of 2008-09 alumni. Since there were only enough for three women’s teams, the groups were split up into three even teams regardless of graduation year. But the hope is that next year will have a similar format to how the men’s side of the tournament went.

The women’s team, made up of recent graduates like Morgan Lowe, Mallory Sirois and Sarah Snell, along with players who have been out of ConVal for a little longer like Kerry Close and Heather Whipple-Simard, won the title 21-14 over a team made up of the Brock sisters, Amanda McKernan and Jennifer Whitehead, among others.

Of the 10 players enshrined in the 1,000-point club, four were in attendance on Saturday and with word of mouth spreading about the tournament, there might be a few more next year. And the hope is it will rekindle that passion for ConVal basketball.

“Hopefully by some of these guys reconnecting with the school again through this, they start to get more involved with what we are doing,” said junior varsity coach Kevin Proctor, who played on the 1994 state championship boys team.

All told there were almost 60 alumni players in the tournament and approximately 80 total with the inclusion of teams made up from players expected to challenge for a varsity spot next year.

“I was happy with the numbers because we didn’t know what to expect,” said Bacon, who plays in his alumni tournament in Laguna Beach each summer.

Each team was guaranteed at least four, 15-minute running time games. The two men’s team who met in the finals played a total of seven games each, while the women’s teams played four.

And the best thing is that the money generated from the tournament will go back into the basketball program to help buy uniforms, offset the costs of summer camps and leagues, as well as fund potential scholarships in the future.

“This is a huge step in the right direction,” said Pierce.

For the first year, everyone involved enjoyed the day.

“I think this is more than we could have hoped for,” said Proctor. “It was a great turnout.”

While the day was centered around basketball, there was a lot more going on than just shooting some hoops. Many got a chance to go up against players they grew up idolizing.

“It’s fun to play against people you heard about. When we were coming up, you always heard about Jaime LeFlem and now to run against him is nice,” said Lawes.

Others took the court with old teammates for the first time since high school.

“It’s nice that they put this together,” said Kevin Chevalier. “It’s good to connect again.”

And with the success of this year’s tournament, next year should be bigger and better.

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