November 30, 2005
Recent and distant graduates alike gathered in the Hood River Valley High School gym Saturday morning for the annual Eagles Alumni basketball game. Players from as far back as the ‘70s faced off against the school’s most recent ’04 graduates in a fierce but friendly session of hoops.
After their time as Eagles, the alumni moved on to all walks of life. Although turnout for the annual event has slowly dissipated over the years, enough returned this Thanksgiving weekend to make up two full teams, so they were divided —more or less— into the old versus the young.
The intriguing question for spectators in the stands was, who will win? Will it be the young team, with stamina, quickness and varsity experience at the 4A level, or the seasoned basketball veterans with patience, practice and more distant memories of high school basketball back when HRVHS was a 3A, or even a 2A school?
The young team won a close first game, followed by an intense second game that ended with the old guys one point behind and shooting one-and-one with two seconds left. Nathan Armerding, playing on the old guys’ side, made both free-throws and helped clench the victory and tie the series.
A 15-minute tie-breaker proved to be the straw that broke the old-men’s backs, and the young team pulled ahead to take the tournament by about 10 points.
“Every year we hope to have more people than we get,” said game organizer Phil Hukari. “But those that were there enjoyed the chance to compete again.”
According to Hukari, in the alumni tournament’s early years several times as many graduates showed up to play, often with entire teams made up of a single graduating class.
“It was like a reunion,” Hukari said. “I’d love to get it back to that some day.”