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Clovis girls alumni hoops game set


May 20, 2018

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The Clovis High girls basketball program is preparing to hold an alumni game 7 p.m Thursday as a fundraiser to benefit the program. Tickets will be $4 for adults and $2 for children.

CLOVIS — High school reunions aren't quite as big an event as they used to be, what with Facebook and all the other social media that allows people to reconnect by pressing a button on their phones.

Alumni basketball games are a little different. They can be organized through social media, but they have to be played the old-fashioned way — face-to-face on the hardwood.

Clovis girls basketball will play such a game on Thursday at Rock Staubus Gymnasium, tipping off at 7 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children, with the funds going toward Clovis' girls basketball program.

The contest will include former Clovis girls basketball players from turn-of-the-century teams all the way up to teams from earlier this decade, playing against the projected 2018-19 team. Next year's team will be coached by current Clovis girls coach Jeff Reed and his staff. The alumni team will be coached by Johnny Casaus, who has roots in both the Clovis and Hobbs programs, having been an assistant and JV coach for the Lady Wildcats before going on to the Lady Eagles' head-coaching job.

Casaus guided the turn-of-the-century era of Clovis players from elementary school, AAU ball and up. Scott Robinson - a longtime fixture in Clovis basketball and the boys head varsity coach from 2014-18 - will also help coach the alumni team.

Thursday's game is the brainchild of Niki Black, a turn-of-the-century player who was Niki Shaw back then.

"I was on my way to a doctor's appointment," Black recalled, "and I'd kind of been thinking about getting the girls back playing together. So I went to Mr. (Jay) Brady (the Clovis High principal) and asked if he would allow it."

Black says Brady liked the idea, then referred her to Reed.

"She approached me about it and wanted to do it," Reed said. "And I thought, 'We could do that.'"

Reed says the first 20 who signed up will get to play in the event that will have an announcer and referees, just like a regular game. As of Friday night, it hadn't yet been determined how long each period would be.

"We really hadn't discussed that," Reed said. "I don't know if we'll try to change the format. I don't know if we'll do eight-minute quarters. It might be fun to try something different, but I'd assume we're doing eight-minute quarters."

Reed also said he was unsure if it would be an annual event. He thinks it might be better as an every-other-year occurrence.

As of Saturday, the alumni team included: Sharrissa Blair (married name Levasseur), Kandi Mitchell (Wall), Melissa Wimbish, Christine Oborny and Laurie Epps (Coffman) from the class of 1999; Black, Rakel Nussbaumer, Joi Pearce (Lunsfurd) and Consuelo Garcia from the class of 2000; Kecia Meyers and Cisti Greenwalt from the class of 2001; Erin Shaw (Switzer) from the class of 2003; Meagan Brady from the class of 2013; and Kyleigh Guthals and Carrie Sharp from the class of 2014.

"We've got people coming in from California, from back east, all around," Black said. "One missed her sister's graduation (Friday) night so she could come in for this instead."

Practices began Friday night. "It is awesome," Black said, "just getting to see everybody. We're kind of out of shape, but it's all for fun."

Halftime entertainment will include Clovis alumni Payton Ware and Susanne Oborny, who are planning a cheerleader skit based on SNL's "Craig and Arianna" sketch made famous by Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri in the mid-to-late 1990s. It's a performance that Ware and Oborny did regularly during their turn-of-the-century high school days.

Overall,they hope for an enjoyable night for a good cause.

"This is all fun and games trying to raise some money for the basketball program," said Black, now a math teacher at Clovis' Choices Alternative School. "And it gives us a chance to play together again."


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