Wildcats, Hawks alumni hoop it up
It has come to be a highly anticipated event.
The annual Andrews/Nantahala alumni games took place Saturday night at Andrews High School, with the best of years past coming together not only for fun, but a good cause. Proceeds from the evening were split between both schools’ athletic department.
As for the games themselves, all three contests were played with 20-minute halves and a running clock until the final two minutes of each half. After Nantahala cleaned up in the 2017 games, the Andrews women picked up a 27-18 win, the Andrews men won the “Old Guns” game 61-52 and Nantahala prevented a Wildcat sweep with a 57-55, buzzer-beating win in the “Young Guns” finale.
Only six Andrews Lady Wildcats dressed out for the girls’ game, while Nantahala had a deeper bench to turn to. Despite the odds, a 10-10 halftime mark turned into a 27-18 Andrews victory.
A 2015 Andrews graduate, Carleigh Davis Johnson relished bringing the trophy back to the Lady Cats. However, she got more enjoyment out of playing with old friends and teammates.
“It felt good being back out on the floor, but I realized how out of shape I was,” Johnson said with a laugh. “We were really handicapped, but we did really good with the numbers we had. It’s really all about having fun. Coming back to play, I’m not as competitive as I was in high school, so I had a blast.”
Even though Andrews held a 30-18 halftime lead of the “Old Guns” game and widened the margin to 49-29 in the second half, Nantahala started a comeback bid that ultimately fell short.
Mickey Maennle, who graduated from Andrews in 1984 and was only two days shy of being inducted into the Wildcats Hall of Fame, was just happy everyone escaped the game without incident.
“I haven’t played in the alumni game in about eight years,” Maennle said with his familiar smile. “I was excited to see how many people came out to watch the game. I’m just glad that everybody made it and nobody got injured. Our egos have gone away, so now we can just play and have fun.”
The most competitive game came in the nightcap. Nantahala led the “Young Guns” game 28-20 at the half, before things got interesting in the final 10 seconds. Andrews surged back and tied the game 55-55 late, before 2009 Hawks graduate Nathan Postell drove back down the court and drained a bucket at the buzzer to win the game for Nantahala.
“It’s a pretty big moment. I’m just glad it went in. I wanted it,” Postell said. “I look forward to this every year. It’s great. I love it.”