ConVal to host alumni tourney
Inaugural event scheduled for July 27
Every year, Ben Bacon travels to California for his high school’s annual alumni basketball tournament.
It is a time that he looks forward to. It gives Bacon a chance to see his old teammates and play a few games in the same gymnasium he played in during his time at Laguna Beach High School.
And now he is helping to provide the same experience for former ConVal players.
“I’m hoping to try and recreate that experience,” said Bacon. “When you play a competitive game in a the gym you spent hours in growing up, it’s really a neat experience.”
Bacon is part of a group that has organized the first annual Boys and Girls ConVal Alumni Basketball Tournament, sponsored by the ConVal Athletic Department, scheduled for July 27.
With the gym renovations completed this spring, this is the perfect year to kick off what is hoped to be an annual summer event.
“It’s long overdue, but I think the timing is right,” said Mike Crowe, one of the organizers. “I’d love to see this as something that the community comes out to see.”
The tournament, open to former players since ConVal’s first year in 1971, is set to be a one-day event, held in both the new ConVal gymnasium and at South Meadow School. It will be a fund raiser for the basketball programs at the school.
“Our goal is to lay a foundation for this to perpetuate,” said Bacon.
The plan for the first year is to have eight teams on the boys side and four on the girls. The current varsity coaches will put together a team for the event, while the rest of the players in the program will also help out during the day-long event.
“It’s a great way to celebrate the history of ConVal basketball and bring attention to the new,” said ConVal girls basketball coach Brian Pickering.
The idea is to have teams made up of players from the same age group.
“The focus is to play with your teammates,” said Bacon
After learning of the tournament from Bacon, ConVal junior varsity boys coach Kevin Proctor, a 1995 graduate, made a bunch of phone calls to teammates from his high school days.
“The first thing I thought of was to get the ‘94 championship team back together,” said Proctor. “I like the idea of playing with the guys you played with. To me that’s kind of the nostalgia part of it. It’s been almost 20 years since we’ve all been on the same floor.”
While many of his former teammates are unable to play this year, Proctor still got a group of seven guys to commit to the inaugural tournament. And many said they would make plans to play next year.
“A lot of guys won’t be able to make it this year,” said Proctor. “But some thought that if it was an annual thing they could try to put it into their schedules, so I hope it does become an annual thing.”
For those interested in playing, there is no need to put together an entire team. Players will be placed with a team of similar graduation years with rosters expected to be at a max of 10.
Since it is a new event, the goal is to make it a fun and well-run tournament that people will want to return to in future years.
“I think a lot of us have been thinking about what we can do to put some energy back into the program,” said Crowe. “Anybody who’s been a part of ConVal basketball, we want them to come out and be a part of it.”
With the current slate of 12 teams, the tournament will consist of pool play and a single elimination bracket. Teams are guaranteed four games with the two teams in the finals set to play seven.
The games will be full court, 5-on-5, with officials. The length of each game will be 15 minutes. It will be running time except for the final minute. And while the idea is to have fun, there will certainly be some competitive juices flowing.
“I don’t think anybody is going there to lose,” said Proctor.
The tournament is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. at both schools, with the championship games to be played at ConVal.
The cost for entrants is $30 prior to June 30 and $40 after. Players will still be accepted on the day of the tournament with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m.
So far there has been a lot of talk about the first-year tournament.
“There are lots of people who are interested and have talked about signing up,” said Bev Bacon, one of five organizers.
And the hope is to watch it grow over the years.
“We’d like this to be a nice fund-raiser for the programs and a way to bring in the community,” said Bev Bacon.
Admission is free and there will be concessions, a silent auction and a 50/50 raffle, all to benefit the basketball programs.
“In many ways, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” said Pickering.
To register, visit the tournament’s Facebook page: ConVal Alumni Basketball Tournament or email Bacon at firstname.lastname@example.org.