KEYSER - On Friday evening at Keyser High School, legends of the Golden Tornado basketball program dusted off their Chuck Taylor's and Air Jordan's to participate in the 1st Annual Keyser Alumni Basketball Game.
Current Golden Tornado senior Kearstin Lucas, a candidate for the Athletic Queen of Keyser, played the role of official host to this event with the help and support of Dana Lucas. The Lady Tornado Alumni hit the hardwood first as tipoff took place at 6:00pm. In preparation to battle the heat and humidity in the gym, all doors were kept open with industrial fans cranked on high. The 12 women participants were separated into a black team and a gold team as teams were built for even competitive balance. Having only one substitute per team while playing full court turned this hardwood hoop game into a test of mental and physical endurance.
Both teams swapped baskets back and forth over the course of the first half, and when the horn blew after the 2nd quarter, all of the players energy was zapped with uniforms drenched in sweat. Current girls basketball coach Josh Blowe motivated his Black team with a fiery halftime speech while Coach Bob Shook took a more hands off approach allowing the Gold team freedom to just chill. Although the conditions were challenging, the tough minded Keyser ladies hit the floor and finished the 2nd half.
The difference down the stretch was the play of Brie Kunis and Kelci Riley who hit key buckets for the Black squad to win the first Alumni Game 26-22. Kelci Riley dropped in 8 points on four field goals to take home MVP Honors for the Black team and Autumn Beavers was recognized as the MVP for the Gold team scoring a total of 10. Also scoring for Team Black was Alyvea Fields with 4, Sheri Blowe drained a free throw for 1 point, Kacee Everline posted 5 points, and Dana Lucas was a defensive standout. The Golden Girls squad had some excellent open court play from Ronna Mathias and Brittny Bowman, while Brooke Staggers chipped in 8 points, Sommer Alt had 2 and Hannah Biser finished with a pair of free throws.
The Keyser Mens Alumni game tipped off shortly after, and the gymnasium began to cool off as the sun dipped below the horizon. In addition, each team had multiple substitutes as Team Black had 8 players on the roster and the Golden Boys had 7. During pregame warmups several members of team gold estimated a 7-8 point advantage over their counterparts, and that bet looked good until the 3rd quarter. As energy levels reached E on the gas meter in the 2nd half, 2017 graduate Cade Staggers utilized his youth and endurance in leading a double digit charge right past Team Gold, never looking back to win 59-48.
Cade dropped in 14 points to earn MVP honors while leading his black bandits to victory. Timmy Imperio represented ‘The Answer’ with a #3 on his jersey, converting 4 treys from downtown finishing with 12 points. Shane Beckwith enjoyed chucking the longball as he too hit 4 three point field goals for 12 points.
Brent Barrick and Josh Blowe both did damage closer to the hoop as each finished the contest with 4 two point field goals for a total of 8 points. Robert Redman did the dirty work on defense for the Black squad, as Phil Blowe ended with 3 points and Chris Halbritter chipped in 2 points.
Team Gold relied on Quentin Peck for points and he was recognized as the squad MVP finishing with 14.
Chad Wilt tossed in 8 points and so did Tyler Logsdon. Tyler etched his name into the archives of Alumni basketball history scoring the first points ever in the Mens Alumni game. Jared Smoot hit a pair of field goals for 4 points, John Helman had 5 points, and Kellon Smith dropped in 6. The only undefeated coach in Keyser basketball history, John Staggers dropped in a deep shot from Duckie’s accounting for his 3 point contribution.
Although the Golden Guys came up short, John Staggers keeps his undefeated record in tact considering he was officially a player in the game and not coaching. The loss instead was absorbed by country music bluegrass star, and local legend Jim Broome. Overall the event was a sweaty success, and plans are underway for the 2nd Annual Keyser High Alumni Basketball Game next year.