The Puyallup High School alumni basketball team mounted a furious comeback to beat this year’s varsity squad 67-64 in the sixth annual Old vs. New contest on July 9 at Puyallup High School.
The Vikings’ varsity squad built 39-33 halftime lead but the older generation outscored them 34-25 in the second half. It was the sixth consecutive victory for the alumni.
Puyallup 2011 alumnus Jay Balmer was named MVP after he poured in a game-high 31 points.
Arvin Mosley Jr., a 1993 alumnus who is the head coach of The Evergreen State University men’s program, wasn’t surprised the game ended up being close.
“This is one of the better teams they’ve had,” he said. “We knew that coming win. We had won five in a row, and we knew they were coming for us. It was the second time we have been down at halftime.”
Austin Kilpatrick, a 2006 Puyallup alumnus, agreed.
“Defensively, they are on another level this year,” he said. “They are really swarming in their zone, and that is tough to beat. They cover the floor well and trap down really hard. They have improved a lot.”
Puyallup 2011 graduate Dom Holub was excited to be able to compete in the alumni game. Vikings’ head coach Scott Campbell allows former players to play in the game two years after they’ve graduated from high school.
“It is so nice coming back to my old school,” Holub said. “It feels good being around all of these good people and having a good time.
“We’re getting a chance to play basketball and have a little bit of fun in the process,” he said. “I’m still very close to the program. The team is doing really well.”
Campbell said 2011 graduates Stefon Lyons, Dalton Daniels, Jay Balmer and Holub couldn’t wait to don the alumni team’s jerseys.
“They’ve waited for the last two years, and now they’ve finally had a chance to do it,” Campbell said. “It’s fun seeing all of our younger players on our team now who watched them play during their high-school days play against them today. It brings a different feel to it.”
Campbell said having former Vikings stars Izaiah Barsh, Josh Barsh, Johnny Spevak, Brandon Bakke and Kilpatrick compete in the game is special.
“There are so many great players who have come through the program over the years,” Campbell said. “It is always a challenge for our high-school teams because the level of players who come back are just so good. It’s good for our high-school kids to see how good those guys were and are. It kind of opens their eyes.”
Ron Crowe, who graduated from Puyallup High School in 1955, looks forward to the event each summer.
“It’s just a great night to be a Viking,” he said.