Basketball is a passionate game, full of equal parts skill, ego and determination. Long after they leave the high school courts, players hold onto those traits waiting for a chance to shine once again.
Newton Rams alumni are hosting their annual alumni game Saturdaybut with a twist this year as Rams alums will be squaring off against Eastside alums.
"A couple of Eastside people were at our game, and said "Why don't you do a Newton-Eastside game," said Newton alum Takeita Bell, an organizer and member of the Lady Rams coaching staff. "When I played, we didn't play Eastside. The 1999 and 2000 players want a chance to play us because we never played. We never had a chance to meet on the court under our school colors."
The games are open to the public and will be held June 23 at the Newton High School gym. Admission is $3 per person, and proceeds will go to support the Lady Rams. The women's game will start at 4 p.m. and will be followed by the men's game.
In addition, Bell said all teams are still looking for former players, particularly the women's teams. Former alumni interested in playing should call Bell at (404) 518-6925.
"After high school, everybody moved and families went here and there. It's nice to be able to bring everyone back together" Bell said. "We're all from Covington. Even though have we have competitiveness on the court, outside the court we're still all family."
Concessions will be sold, and there will also be entertainment including a disc jockey, as well as free-throw, 3-point and half-court contest at a cost of $1 for attendees. Alumni team shirts will also be sold. Small through extra large shirts will be $10, while larger shirts, up through size 6x, will cost $12.
Some of the headliners include Marquis Gilstrap (Eastside) who went to Iowa State University and played for the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats' summer league team, fellow Iowa State Cyclone Kantrail Horton (Newton) and Mike Benton (Newton), who played at the College of Charleston.
The women's game will have Lakeia Stokes, who played at Clemson University, and Tiffani Johnson, who played at Appalachian State University.
Some of the players who are still local include Eastside alums Jerrick Bell, Otravious Benson and Reggie Hunter.
The Alcovy basketball team, started with the school's opening in the 2006-07 school year and doesn't have many years to put together an alumni team, but according to Bell could be added in the future.