Once a Mariner, always a Mariner

The Mariner Basketball Alumni game acts as Homer’s winter homecoming each year as Homer’s past meets present. This being my third consecutive year participating in the alumni game since graduating in 2010, I realize one thing: We keep getting older while the varsity team stays youthful, coached and organized.

The alumni team at Saturday’s game consisted of about 20 Homer High graduates, including players from Homer’s 1988-1989 state championship team. 

Being such a big team, we were able to keep fresh legs on the court, coming away with a 60-37 win. Coached by Mariner JV Head Coach Tim Daugharty, we decided to warm up with the Mariners in a full-court layup drill, which we were convinced that coach was doing to tire us out prior to tip-off. I’m sure that would have worked if we hadn’t had enough people to keep our rotation fresh. 

Early season injuries have already altered the Homer basketball season and Christmas vacations topped off the load of missing Mariners on Saturday as two seniors, Sam Reinhardt and Drew Brown, and a load of sophomores made up the varsity squad. 

The Mariners showed good ball movement in their designed plays, accounting for a very close first
quarter, but a few alumni steals and fast break points gave us a small lead going into the second. The alumni length and defensive awareness continued to work in the
second quarter, where we switched between a 2-3 and man defense.

The first half ended with the alumni ahead 27-20 in a game where surprisingly only one three-pointer had been made by the alumns. The Mariners were battling hard in a game in which they were clearly outsized. Their movement on the defensive end in the first half gave them a boost going into the third quarter.

In the second half, we threw a man, zone and a press on the Mariners to have them work on their offense and press-break. After many steals and second-chance points, the second half quickly became less serious and more fun even though the score kept lop-siding.

The fun came to a short conclusion midway through the final quarter when senior Drew Brown came down on another player’s foot, twisting his knee and possibly ending the already two-time all tournament award winner’s season with a slight meniscus tear. Brown can now bend his knee, but is still immobile and will most likely miss Homer’s next home game on Jan. 11 against the Grace Christian Grizzlies.

All injuries and missing Mariners aside, I could account our victory to all of the exceptional athletes on the alumni team. The truth is that basketball court awareness, strength and knowledge of the game keep growing long after you graduate from high school ball, but that surely is where the magic begins.

The Lady Mariners also battled their alumnae in a close game until the fourth quarter where the alumnae turned on the offense in a 10-point run, winning 34-23.

Norm Anderson is a freelance writer and Homer High School graduate.