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RHS to hold inaugural alumni basketball game

For a lot of high school graduates, the memories they have of high school athletics are what they consider their golden days. Alumni of Russellville have a chance Aug. 3 to prove they are forever golden.

Russellville High School will host an alumni basketball game Aug. 3 in the middle school gym to raise funds for the basketball program.

The gym will open at 3 p.m. for anyone interested in warming up, and there will be a 3-point contest beginning at 4 p.m., preceding the alumni game.

Contestants for the 3-point shoot-off can sign up at the game with a $5 entry fee. The winner in the school-age and younger category and the adult category will each take home 75 percent of the prize pot in that age group.

Tip-off for the alumni game will be at 5 p.m. Anyone interested in playing can pre-register for $10 at goldentigerathletics.com or register at the door for $15. The last day to pre-register is July 31.

General admission tickets are $5, and student tickets are $2.

Current basketball players will work the concession stands and work at the door, and coaches will be the game officials.

RHS head girls coach Jermaine Groce said he proposed the idea of the alumni basketball game in May and has heard a lot of positive feedback so far.

“I’m an alumni of Russellville myself, so anything that I can do to give back to the community, anything that I can do to grow the game of basketball, anything that I can do to get people who love the game of basketball back reinvigorated and back involved in the program, I would like to do,” Groce said. “I think this is an avenue to give back to those that love that game and want to be involved and get them re-established into what we are trying to do here at Russellville.”

Groce said he would like to find ways to get older generations of alumni involved; he likes the idea of bringing them in as coaches in the future. For this year’s game, Groce said captains will be selected based on the number of people who register.

Russellville held an alumni football game last year, but Groce said to his knowledge, this is the first alumni basketball game.

Groce said the game setup will depend on the number of people who register, but ideally he would like to have multiple games, tournament style.

Teams will be co-ed for the inaugural tournament, but Groce said he would love to have male and female games in the future, depending on the amount of interest.

He said a lot of ideas have been suggested, but this year is focused on getting the community involved and developing an interest in the alumni game.

“There’s a lot of ideas that we as coaches here have, but it’s all about being cost effective,” Groce said. “You just want to make sure – before you jump on board and grow it to a certain extent … you have enough participation.”

He said in the future he hopes to have rivalry games, where Russellville alumni can compete against alumni from other schools, but he wants to make sure Russellville has established participants first.

There will not be any required practice before the game, but Groce said he has seen some alumni playing pick-up games at the school to try and get in shape for the game.

Alumnus Jeff Nixon will be one participant in the Aug. 3 event, and he said he is excited to relive his basketball days with another game.

“It’ll be fun times just trying to remember all of the good times we had up there at the gym,” Nixon said. “There’s nothing better than putting on Golden Tigers.”

Russellville 2019 alumnus Lucas McNutt said he was interested in playing as soon as Groce contacted him. He said he is looking forward to playing basketball again since he has not been on the court in six months.

McNutt said he does not think being a recent graduate gives him an advantage over the competition, so he is coming prepared.

“Anybody can get the smokes these days, so I’m ready for it,” McNutt said. “All the competition should be ready.”

Nixon added he thinks the alumni game will be a great way to get the community involved.

“Whenever the community is behind the basketball program, we can really thrive and be successful,” Nixon said.

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