It’s been months since the regular basketball season ended at Riverbank High School, but both gyms were active this past weekend when alumni of all ages returned for a highly competitive men’s tournament.
The two day, dog-eat-dog, double elimination event began at 4 p.m. Friday, concluding with rounds beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday and ending at 4 p.m.
The traditional event is sponsored by the RHS Alumni Committee, which also runs the snack bar. Proceeds are used for the club’s activities and scholarships. The Bruins Boosters helped out by taking care of ticket sales at the door.
The teams are made up of graduates from differing eras of RHS basketball history, from young, recent grads to old(er) competitors. The ‘Old School’ team, made up of alumni and present and past coaches, came into the tournament as defending champions.
Players on some of the teams are still competing at the college level, while at least one other has played some semi-professional ball, both in the US and abroad.
The Old School team, defending the title from last year, had an interesting style of play.
While other, younger teams, concentrated on driving on the basket, just as they did in their high school playing days, the Old Schoolers concentrated on a more conservative approach.
It was most noticeable on the team made up of the most recent graduates, many of whom played together for Riverbank High.
They constantly fought hard to work the ball inside, looking for lay ups and close in other two-point shots, while the coaches concentrated on scoring shots from outside the three-point arc, catching, then surpassing their younger opponents.
When asked about the tactic, current RHS boys varsity basketball coach Jeff Jennings said they were focusing on staying out of pileups under the basket in order to avoid getting hurt. And, he added, trying to win their games and ultimately, the tournament.
For the second year, the strategy proved successful as Jennings’ Old School team finished the day as champions, winning their last game, 67-56.