With the high school basketball season still a few weeks away, some of the Henry County’s best boys basketball players from the past are getting together to play for a good cause Sunday at Patrick Henry High School.
All four county schools will participate in a one-day tournament to help benefit the Henry County Foundation and the Xavier and Aidan Wensink Scholarship Fund.
“I was watching the NHL All-Star game and saw its structure and thought it would work great for alumni basketball,” said Chris Junge of the Henry County Foundation, who will also play for the Holgate team. “I know at Holgate we have had trouble getting enough players for two teams to play an alumni game. With this format each school only has to field one team.”
The format will have the teams playing two 10-minute halves, with Holgate taking of Liberty Center in the first game and Napoleon facing Patrick Henry in the second game. The winners will return to face each other for the championship.
Each team will receive a donation for its school, with the winning team getting a larger donation. The rest of the funds raised will go to the Henry County Foundation and the Xavier and Aidan Wensink Scholarship fund.
“We feel this is a perfect partnership,” said Junge. “Once the Wensink scholarship fund reaches a certain level they plan to open it up all students in Henry County. We want to help them get to that level as quickly as possible.”
All four teams are loaded with recognizable names from the past.
The Holgate roster includes Adam Kuhlman, Junge, Mike Gustwiler, Blake Sizemore, Charlie Kelly, Adam Huber, Lee Brubaker, Adolf Cassillas, Pat Abel, Andy Gerschutz, Joe Baker and Bobby Wenzinger.
Playing for Napoleon are David Zamora, Jeremy Davis, Louis Green, Todd Wesche, Brett Wesche, Jason Gubernath, Tim Resier, Ross Durham, Craig Good, Ryan Fleck and Dustin Smith.
Patrick Henry’s line-up includes Zach Botjer, Ryan Smith, Ty Meyer, Eric Krauss, Marc Krauss, Zach Wensink, Greg Gobrogge, Kyle Krauss, Kyle Brubaker, Greg Rosebrook, Doug Prigge, Bryan Hieber, Jeremy Crossland and Lee Creager.
Liberty Center has Kaleb Pohlman, Jared Dishop, Greg Badenhop, Tim Myers, Brennen Flory, Jesse Miller, Brian Babcock, Tory Rasey, Tim Davis, Rob Hill, Keith Leatherman and Tory Strock.
“When we started looking at who we wanted to play there were a few guys we needed to have,” said Junge. “Tim Reiser, Adam Kuhlman, the Krauss brothers and Tory Strock were must haves.
“We already have people calling who wanted to play,” added Junge. “I had to tell them the rosters are already full, but maybe next year. We are hoping if this goes well we will do it again next year. The idea is to have it rotate with the Henry County boys tournament, which means next year it will be at Liberty Center.”
The coaches for the tournament are also iconic, with legendary coaches Paul Wayne (Holgate) and Dave Krauss (Patrick Henry) coming back. Greg Badenhop will be player/coach for Liberty Center, while current Napoleon coach Chad Bostelman plans to coach with help from former Wildcats coaches Gregg Merrill, Walt Behrman and Fred Church.
Wayne, who won 495 games and a state title at Holgate, said it was an easy decision for him to come back and coach the Tigers.
“This is going to a good cause and it will be fun to be with some of the old players,” said Wayne, who is now coaching Tinora. “It’s going to be a lot of reliving the past, a lot of good memories.”
The tournament will reunite the three Krauss bothers with their dad as coach. It will mark the first time all three will play for the Patriots at the same time.
Tickets for the games are $5 at the door, with gates opening at 4 p.m. Sunday. The first game between Holgate and Liberty Center will start at 4:30 p.m. and Napoleon and Patrick Henry at 5. The championship game will follow the conclusion of the second game.
At halftime of the first two games there will be shoot-outs for pizza giveaways and during halftime of the championship game one person will get the chance to make a half-court shot for $10,000.