There was a constant theme running through the Perryville High School Gym on Saturday: the Pirates can’t lose.
“That’s right,” Perryville boys basketball coach Dustin Wengert said. “Perryville went undefeated today. The Pirates were 4-0.”
It was the feeling of the day as Perryville basketball hosted their first “Pirate-polooza.” event.
It was Wengert’s brainchild that seemed brought back nostalgic moments as players from all eras took the court for one more game and the current squads had one more scrimmage before the season ramped up. He felt that it was something to behold, but being a graduate of St. Vincent High School it is something that the alumni has to ask themselves as to whether it went well.
“I thought it went well,” Wengert said. “There were smiles and laughs and some good basketball. Overall, I thought that it went well. But it’s something that the people in the game also have to ask themselves. Not being a Pirate my whole life, I haven’t been around the program a long time. It seemed like everyone enjoyed themselves.”
There were over of 35 alumni between the men and women that came back to play. The girls were coached by Vicki Lohmann, who spent 18 seasons at the head of the bench of the girls program. The green team won 41-36 in the girls contest, while the men’s green squad won 59-52. There were hightlights throughout the afternoon as there were dunks but the most emotional moment came when the Brown family, Bobby, Tyson, Colby, and Chase all played the last two minutes together on the same team.
“I’m a sentimental guy and I love stuff like that,” Wengert said. “That’s the reason these games are so cool because families can come back and have moments like that.”
The current versions of the Perryville teams took to the court first to kick off the day. The girls team took a different approach to the scrimmage, switching players around for different combinations throughout the two 20-minute halves.
There were some bright spots in the game as Brook Phillips led all scorers with 11 points. Sydney Spears and Leah Buerck had 10 points each.
The boys team took the more traditional approach with the junior varsity and varsity squads split into two sides. But the finish was anything but traditional
The green team led by Jeff Reisenbichler’s 10 points led 23-18 at the half, but the white squad paced by Chase Brown’s 22 points started the second half with a 9-0 run to take a 27-23 lead.
But with 10:43 remaining the team’s were tied at 32-32 and the teams went back and forth. Until Matthew Mueller hit a corner three-pointer to give the white team a 43-40 advantage. Reisenbichler came back and tied the game with a three with 12 seconds left to leave the game in a draw.
In all, Austin Welk and Zach Cissell had six points for the white team, while Seth Rosseau chipped in four points along with Tanner Mahathath.
For the green team, Mueller had seven points, while Wade Kirn added six points.
“It’s a chance for the younger players to have one last opportunity to impress the coaching staff and let us know they deserve more playing time,” Wengert said.
“It’s a little hard in these scrimmages because everyone knows the plays on defense, so it’s difficult not to cheat. But I saw some good things.”
Wengert hopes to bring back the alumni game next year and wants to make it an annual event.
“I think the consensus is that it was a good time,” Wengert said. “I saw some posts on Facebook that people have been waiting for this for 10 years. I think we are going to try to add some things next season. When you can start incorporating the alumni, it creates more hype and excitement around the program and that’s what we are looking for.”