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Once more, for old times’ sake

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By Dwane Wilder

Like gladiators entering The Colosseum, over two dozen former Campbell County High School boy’s basketball players stepped back onto the court where they had made a name for themselves during their youth.

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The inaugural Cougar Basketball Alumni Weekend concluded on Saturday night with a 3-point shootout, dunk contest and alumni game at John R.W. Brown Gymnasium.

The event was put together by current Cougars’ coach Barry Jones as a way of reaching out to former players and to build support for the upcoming basketball season at CCHS.

“Overall, I was pleased,” said Jones.

“I learned some things I will do differently next time, though. The turnout didn’t measure up to the amount of talk I’ve heard in the past few years about the ‘glory days’ of CCHS basketball, but I believe it is a venture worth doing again and again.

“It certainly was rewarding to meet many of the former players, some of whom can still play. As with the basketball program in general, I hope the alumni weekend concept will grow each year into a ‘can’t-miss’ event.”

The alumni tournament included players from all four decades of Cougar basketball.

Anthony Bowman (Class of 1976) was the oldest player on the court, while Cody Suttles (Class of 2009) was the youngest.

Other participants included Brent Walden and Josh James, starters during the 2000-01 season on Campbell County’s only sub-state team; Anthony Walden, John McNeeley and Tim Baird, all of whom played on three consecutive district tournament championship teams from 1994-96.

One set of brothers — the Waldens — and a father/son duo — Matthew and Matt Housley — also participated in the alumni tournament.

The White team, which was made up mostly of players from the first three decades of Cougar basketball, won Friday’s game, 90-82. The same team, with more of a mix of players from the years 1976-86, beat the Blue team, 110-108, on the following night.

Brandon Berry (Class of 2006) won Saturday night’s 3-point shootout. Sean Chapman, a player on the current CCHS team, was winner of the dunk contest.