Former Rainier High School basketball student-athletes laced up their sneakers at their alma mater one more time in the inaugural Orange/Black Alumni Game on Saturday, Nov. 25.
More than 20 alumni from the 1980s through the 2020s participated in the game in front of a packed crowd.
“It was fun to reminisce with my old teammates and get out there and compete a little bit,” said Brandon Eygabroad, a 2011 RHS graduate and current head coach of the girls basketball team. “It was great to get the community involved and give them a good show.”
During the announcement of starting lineups, alumni were introduced along with their graduating year and current occupation. Teammates of old reunited on the court and competed for bragging rights. The black team came out on top by a score of 52-41.
For Rita Meldrum, who played at Rainier from 1988-1991, playing in front of her sons was important to her. Her sons, Jake and Josh, both play on the basketball team at Rainier and helped their mother practice for the event.
“I played horrible, but it was a lot of fun. I had tons of fun, and I’m so happy to do this for the first year,” she said. “I haven’t played in a game like this since college. I’m just happy I didn’t pull anything.”
Rainier boys basketball coach Ben Sheaffer helped organize the event and served as an official for the game. He said the idea has been in the works for a couple of months and was inspired by other local schools that host a similar event.
“We’re just really trying to grow our fan base and get more community involvement,” he said. “I thought it went great. I think everybody had a good time. For a pre-season scrimmage, we had a pretty good crowd here, so I felt really good about it.”
Sheaffer said that he hopes to host the alumni game every year and is considering expanding the festivities. He said a three-point contest at halftime has been discussed, as well as making T-shirts for the participants.