Hematites host annual alumni basketball tournament

ISHPEMING — 56 games were played during the second annual Ishpeming Alumni Tournament, which brought together 31 teams from across the Upper Peninsula. And behind the scenes, a lot goes into putting an event like this.

“When you’re on file systems, you have the alumni folder file that we have going on my computer. It just keeps the old brackets in there, and programs so you don’t have to re-create things. Starting earlier was always better. I started organizing this in November, just so I knew I had the proper time and didn’t have to allocate all my energy at the end of a basketball season while I coach to get ready for a tournament, too,” tournament organizer Ryan Reichel said.

The tourney is all in good fun, but when you put old rivals back on the court against each other, the competitive nature gets amplified.

“The rivalry is still there. Since high school, we take it a little less serious. It’s a little bit more fun. Over the years, I’ve become friends with a lot of the guys that I played against in high school. It’s kind of neat to come out here and compete against them again,” said Sean Geary.

“It’s more of having fun these days, but you always get a little bit of the rivalry back. Once it gets deeper into the game, we get a little more competitive. Maybe throw a couple of elbows, but it’s all forgiven after the game is over,” Josh Makela said.

“It’s still there. Yes, it’s still there. We’ve played districts here and up at Westwood. It brings back lots of fun memories so I’m excited to always play in this tournament,” said Bobbi Ayotte.

The event was created as a fundraiser for the Ishpeming girls basketball team.