Taking a cue from girls’ soccer, a second alumni game was established through the guidance of varsity head basketball Coach Nick Levine. Noting the conviviality and sense of tradition that radiates from their soccer event, he enlisted Tommy Marren ’15 and Kelly Thomson (Natasha ‘13, Stefan ’16 and Marek ’19) to help launch a different alumni contest.
Held on the same day as the girls’ soccer match, the basketball alums gathered in Eva May Fleet at 5:30 p.m. for their inaugural game. Taking a different tack, the dramatis personae in this game were ALL alumni. In this contest, Coach Levine set the standard with the two teams split by pre-and post 2012 graduation dates, the Old Guys before 2012 and the Young Guys after. With help from the Alumni Relations office and the Bishop’s athletics archival knowledge of history teacher Kamal Assaf ‘88, players were rounded up. The Old Guys roster included Peter Alexander ‘12, Julian Arthur ‘03, Scott Bollert ‘07, Garrett Guess ‘92, Eddy Glazener ‘12, Nick Lake ‘06, Ryan Thomas ‘06, Brendan Walsh ’06 and Coach Assaf ‘88. The New Guys coached by Connor McCroskey ’15 included Jamie Abrams ’15, Cullen Bedingfield ’17, Scotty Carlson ’16, Matt Lizanich ’14, Tommy Marren ’15, Reed Meyer ’16, Sahil Sheth ’16 and Stefan Thomson ’16.
The tables were set and two 20-minute halves ensued. But not before some discussions of Bishop’s basketball legends. Over the years a basketball story developed in the confines of 7607 La Jolla Blvd. The story, told many times and embellished by time and imagination had to do with a boy who arrived on campus a mere 4’ 6” tall. Young Bishop’s players listened with skepticism as they heard the tales of Nick Lake who was coached up to become a premier CIF San Diego Section star. A Knights student-athlete who turned all he touched to gold, and not the least of which was his basketball career that took him on to Princeton, where as a walk-on, he eventually became team captain. It brought visions of Roy Hobbs in their heads, sounding impressive, but no doubt a fiction.
Unfortunate for the New Guys that Nick Lake guy showed up, live and in person, no myth, just reality. So also did sharpshooter Kamal Assaf. Nevertheless, expressing confidence before the tipoff, the New Guys coach McCroskey confided to TLR, that “while the team is a little out of shape, they will get the job done.”
And they did get the job done, but only in the first half, when they went to the locker room with 23-22 advantage over the Old Guys. But that one point margin didn’t last for long as the second half ensued. Behind 22 points from Nick and three deadly “swish” treys from Kamal, the New Guys fell behind by 15 points! A team effort led to that large advantage with Ryan directing at the point, along with a tough, tenacious defense from Scotty Bollert, Peter, Brendan and Garrett. Rounding out the Old Guys second-half surge was a major rebounding performance by Eddy and Julian who together ruled the paint, providing multiple second-chance opportunities.
Egged on by announcer Scott “Dick Vitale” Bedingfield (Cullen and Riley ’17), coach McCroskey heeded the suggestion for a time out. Re-grouped and re-focused, the New Guys staged a furious comeback led by Reed with 17 points and closely followed by Matt with 15. Jamie, Cullen, Scotty, Tommy and Stefan all pitched in with relentless ball pressure and a full court press getting as close as four points in the closing seconds. But it was not enough as the clock ticked down, leaving them six points short of victory. Old Guys ruled 56-50.
At the game’s conclusion, the event re-convened with a reception at the Parachute Brunch and Supper Room on Prospect Street. As an aside, Coach McCroskey was already calling for a rematch, stating, “we feel that we would have won if we had more time.” While the Old Guys required a bit more post-game ice, they might have replied...how much time do you need?
Like the alumni girls’ soccer game earlier in the day, a good time was had by all. Capping the evening off with good food and company both teams shared stories of the game and their playing days at Bishop’s. Peter Alexander summed up the night telling Coach Levine, "thanks for bringing us back. We were forgotten for a while." As imagined, a new tradition has been born; in its own style and approach it will create its own legend. Special thanks to Tommy, Coach Assaf, Scott Bedingfield and Kelly Thomson for spearheading a fine evening of competition and fun.