HAMLER — It’s been more than 15 years since Paul Wayne led the Holgate Tigers to the 2004 boys basketball state championship.
For one night, at least, Wayne got to relive some of those memories as he led the Holgate alumni to the championship in the Henry County Alumni Basketball Tournament at Patrick Henry High School’s House of Heat.
“I thought it was an awesome event,” Wayne, now the coach at Tinora High School, said. “The cause was great, and it was so much fun being with the guys I have been with, clear back to (19)84. Pat Able was ‘84, so the whole way through was really fun reliving old memories with these guys.”
Holgate won the event with a 32-29 win over Liberty Center in the first game and a 43-40 win over Napoleon in the title game.
Blake Sizemore led the Tigers with 14 points in the win over the Cats, while Joe Baker added 12. Andy Gerschutz chipped in nine points in the winning effort.
“The level of basketball, for being out of school for a good long time, was a high level of basketball,” Wayne said. “I was really impressed by the level of play. Even though these are rivalries, they are friendly rivalries, and I think tonight cemented that fact.”
The tournament opened with Holgate’s win over LC, with Jared Dishop leading the orange and black with 12 points. Kaleb Pohlman added four points, while Tory Strock, Greg Badenhop and Tim Davis each added three.
Charlie Kelly led Holgate with eight points in the opening win, while Gerschutz contributed seven.
“It was a lot of fun,” Badenhop, LC’s player-coach for the event, said. “You get to go back to your high school days and play with some guys you played with, and even some guys you grew up watching play. For us, with Strock, and Davis and (Keith) Leatherman, those guys were in high school when I was young, so anytime you get to go out on the same floor as them, it’s a pretty cool thing.”
The second game of the evening featured the host Patriots against Napoleon, with the Cats getting the edge 43-37.
Todd Wesche led Napoleon with 11 points, while Tim Reiser poured in nine on three three-pointers in the first half. David Zamora also had nine for Napoleon, which got six from Louis Green and five from Ross Durham.
PH was led by Kyle Brubaker’s 11 points, while the Patriots also got nine from Lee Creager and five from Eric Krauss.
Patrick Henry led 19-16 at halftime but was out-scored 27-18 in the second 10-minute half.
In the title bout, Napoleon got 11 from Wesche and 10 from Green, while Zamora chipped in nine. The Cats led 29-26 after 10 minutes but were out-scored 17-11 in the second.
“It was a lot of fun to be a part of this,” Napoleon player-coach Chad Bostelman said. “There was a very good turnout. I was almost surprised by how many people were here and how many good alum came back. It was competitive. I think our minds wanted our bodies to do things we can’t do anymore, but it sure was fun competing against a lot of familiar names and faces.”
Funds raised from ticket sales and a 50/50 raffle benefitted the Henry County Foundation and the Xavier and Aidan Wensink Memorial Scholarship Fund.
“It was absolutely amazing tonight,” Wayne said. “Every team had multiple all-state players out there. Everybody out there on the court competed and wanted to win, but when one guy got knocked down, it didn’t matter who they were, everyone wanted to help them up. It was friendly and very competitive.”