Alumni come back to participate in annual basketball games vs. varsity teams

December 9, 2017 — by Karen Chow

After the three-month stretch of school, Thanksgiving break provides a respite for both alumni and current students. For current and former basketball players, however, the break also signifies the annual game between the current varsity teams and former players.

This year, the games took place on Nov 24. Players such as Joel Schneidmiller, Kian Ghelichkhani, and Gabriel Fong returned to face the boys’ team. On the girls’ side, returning alumni included Samie Davey, Nicole Prowse and Bailey Yates.

The tradition of the alumni game started approximately 10 years ago.

Although the game connects generations of Falcons, it also offers a  learning experience for the current teams.

“The girls’ team, for instance, learned a lot about what they need to focus on,” JV girls’ coach Mike Davey said. “It is also a very good start to the season with some friendly competition.”

For senior small forward Harrison Fong, this year's alumni game was memorable because he not only played against his old teammates, but also his brother, Gabriel.

“It was fun to play against everyone because they would challenge us and we would challenge them,” Fong said. “It was a friendly rivalry.”

Fong’s favorite memories about the game included the opportunities it gave him to  catch up with his former teammates. Because of this, Fong said that he would participate in the alumni game after he graduates if given the opportunity.

2015 alumni Kevin Lee, who now attends De Anza Community College, said he enjoys playing in the game against current team members because it gives him the chance to see what the team is like now and relive his high school career alongside old teammates.

“It really is like going down memory lane as I play in the Saratoga gym,” Lee said. “It is a really great experience and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to play with old teammates again.”

Senior point guard Chloe Fung finds the alumni game enjoyable yet challenging as she has to compete against the combined strength of her former talented teammates such as Erin Norris and Eleni Spirakis.  

“Initially, I was very optimistic of the outcome of the game because the first basket of the game was my three-point shot,” said Fong. “Almost every person on the alumni team had been on a winning CCS team which is why the game was so hard. ”

Despite losing 58-38, the current girls’ basketball team had many highlights throughout the game. Fong believes that one of the most memorable moments of the game was when senior center Harshini Ramaswamy pulled up and shot a “mid range jumper” in front of her sister Dharini, a 2014 graduate.

For freshman shooting guard Kaitlyn Yu, the alumni game was initially very intimidating. She had never played with the alumni on the basketball team before and they all seemed stronger than her and her teammates.

“My favorite part of the game was when I scored a three against them,” Yu said. “After that, I felt more confident and less intimidated about playing much older players.”

Davey, who has coached basketed her for more than two decades, looks forward to the game every year because he gets to catch up with the graduates. Over the years, the game has become a tradition and created a community in the basketball program.

“The most important part about the game is the basketball family getting together,” Davey said. “It is really nice to get to see everybody again and get a life update on how they're doing.”

 

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