Vikings hoops pride runs deep

Seventh annual Puyallup Vikings "Old vs. New" alumni games sees former players triumph against current varsity squad

Staff writerJuly 9, 2014 

Puyallup High School 2011 graduate Dalton Daniels drives to the hoop while Devin Neff chases him down during the second quarter of the seventh annual Puyallup Vikings alumni basketball game on July 1. Daniels’ alumni team won the game, 89-71.

SHAUN SCOTT/HERALD PHOTO

Experience trumped youth in a showdown of hard-nosed teams in the seventh annual Puyallup Vikings “Old vs. New” alumni basketball game.

The Vikings alumni squad, composed primarily of players who graduated from PHS from 1993 through 2011, registered a convincing 89-71 victory against the current Puyallup varsity squad on July 1 at the Puyallup High School gymnasium.

The outcome of the contest may have been lopsided, but the evening’s focus wasn’t on the final score. The bond exhibited between the Vikings of old and current players was visible before, during and after the game. Puyallup varsity coach Scott Campbell said the annual alumni game is one of his favorite events of the entire year.

“It is really good for our current players to see the caliber of players who have come through here before them and to see how much those guys care about the current team and what they’re doing to represent the Vikings,” Campbell said.

Former Evergreen State University men’s basketball head coach Arvin Mosely, who graduated from PHS in 1993, looks forward to this game every summer.

“It’s awesome because we get so many guys (alumni) to come back for this game,” Mosely said. “The players on the team now appreciate us coming back. It’s awesome. The guys playing right now have an appreciation for what the former players have done.”

Mosely said the Vikings’ tradition of success was on display.

“Playing against Rogers High School and winning the district title in 1991 was memorable,” he said. “We did well basketball-wise and we also went to a couple of King Bowls (the state championship football game). It was a good time for sports in Puyallup.”

PHS 2011 alumnus Dom Holub couldn’t pick out one particular game as his best high school hoops memory, but instead pointed to the camaradrie he shared with his teammates from 2009 through 2011. Holub hit four three-pointers in the alumni game.

“As a whole, the thing I look back and remember the most was the summer league,” Holub said. “We did a lot of traveling (California, Nevada trips), and had such a strong team bond. We learned to work under pressure and did things to get us ready for the upcoming season. We wanted to overdo it before we experienced it.”

After three seasons away from organized basketball, Holub plans on suiting up for Bellevue Community College men’s basketball team this winter. The 22-year-old knows the layoff will present some challenges.

“I just look at it that I have to work twice as hard,” he said. “I don’t have the fresh legs that I had coming out of my senior year of high school. It’s going to be an experience within itself. Time goes by fast and I’m trying to cherish every moment and get better every day.”

Morgan Creek YMCA youth program director Josh Barsh, a 1999 Puyallup alumnus, said playing in the gymnasium where he played 15 years ago was a surreal experience. He’s been a regular at the alumni game for the past several years.

“I remember when I got my first ever dunk against Sumner,” Barsh said. “The crowd was going crazy. We finished one game away from state my senior year. It’s nice to come back to where I played ball in high school.”

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