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ALUMNI CHALLENGE: Pasadena, Deer Park Old-Timers Set for Round 2

ALUMNI CHALLENGE: Pasadena, Deer Park Old-Timers Set for Round 2
Posted on 11/20/2014
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Alumni Challenge participants battle for the ball during the inaugural game in 2013.
skaer 2With a year to recover from their aches and injuries, alumni basketball players from Pasadena and Deer Park will let discretion be the better part of valor when they clash again during the McDonald’s Texas Invitational Tournament next week.

Yes, it’s true. Even living legends need re-enforcements.

About a dozen new recruits will be in uniform when the Texas Invitational plays host to the second Alumni Challenge showdown between old-timers from Deer Park High and the five Pasadena ISD high schools.

The game is set for Saturday, Nov. 22, at Phillips Field House with tip-off at 6 p.m. Although designed as a fun warm-up contest for the Boys Division I Championship Game at 8 p.m., the Alumni Challenge, in its debut last year, nearly filled the gymnasium.

Alumni cheerleaders and drill team members will be on hand to perform and cheer on their heroes to even greater glory.

Proceeds from the 80-team, three-day Texas Invitational benefit the education foundations of both school districts. A ticket to the Alumni Challenge will be good for admission to the Boys Division 1 Championship Game to follow.

The Alumni Challenge is sponsored by Loomis International. Larry C. Johnson, president of Loomis, played forward for Deer Park in the 1970s and will be participating in the game.

Deer Park won the inaugural contest, 35-30. The winner of this year’s game will take possession of a traveling trophy to be awarded each year to the prevailing squad.

The alumni coaches are both icons of the area’s basketball past. Directing the Deer again this year will be Ray Landers, who earned four district coach of the year honors during a 12-year varsity career at Deer Park that began in 1971.

Phil Eaton, who played at Pasadena High in the early 1970s and enjoyed a highly successful stint at the Eagles’ head coach in the 1980s, will once again coach the Pasadena ISD squad.

Landers will be assisted by David Nutt and Dean Evans. Easton will be assisted by Greg Clary and Rick Sherley.

In addition to Johnson, Landers coached eight of the 17 players on the Deer Park roster. David Adair (Class of 1972), Steve Hester (1972), Nick Snell (1978), Tom Fuller (1979), Keith Westerman (1979), Tim Johnson (1982) and Ed Berg (1982) all played for Landers.

Easton coached three of the 18 players on the Pasadena ISD roster: Jeff Wylie (Class of 1987), Marco Alvarado (1992) and Manny Coronado (1992).

Arguably