Ramblers tip off season with alumni tourney

2008-2009 grads fell 72-66 to Dave Sambol’s team of MRSS graduates from 1999-2002 in the championship final.

The Maple Ridge Secondary School boys’ basketball program celebrated its history last weekend, hosting an alumni tournament that brought past graduates back to the gym.

Saturday’s tournament featured 35 former Ramblers making up four teams, with grads from as far back as 1983. Many of the former Ramblers were excited to re-connect with coaches Ken Dockendorf and Lorne Ward, who have been leaders of the Rambler basketball program for more than 30 years.

The tournament final saw the grads of 2008-2009 fall 72-66 to Dave Sambol’s team of MRSS graduates from 1999-2002 in the championship final.

Aiden Pare, Chris Barber, Clayton Gamble and Jamal Caines-Walker made up the core of the ’08s, and have been coming to play with the current Ramblers on Sundays during the team’s open gym night throughout the summer. They were joined by Caleb Roda, fresh off knee surgery and ready to play, Lloyd Greene (2008), Matt Adams (2009), and Sam Oliver (2010).

The ’08s were narrowly defeated by Jeff O’Brien, Dave Sambol and Rob Swift from 2002, Cam MacLeod and Des O’Brien from 1999, and late additions Tom Thu and Scott Lyster from 2005.

Also competing in the tournament were the Old Cats team, featuring Maple Ridge hometown boys Dean Barbour, Bob Sidhu and Darren Rowell from the 1986 provincial championship team, as well as Dan Glavind (1983), Jordan Kennedy (1991) and Jovo Bikic from the 1989 B.C. finalists. Chris Schriek, who graduated from MRSS in 1986, drove down from his home in Winfield to participate in the weekend’s activities.

“I haven’t seen some of these guys in 20 years,” he said.

The Old Cats were joined by youngsters Travis Eagle, a 2011 grad who now attends Simon Fraser University, and current Ramblers point guard Max Neumann.

Team Niemirski featured all three Niemirski brothers: Mike (grad 2005), Thomas (2008) and current Rambler Pavel, a Grade 11 student at the school.

The team of Rambler grads from 2006 featured Roy Greenbank, Bit Chan Eun, Nick Logue and Brandon Stephenson.

Friday night’s game created a first in MRSS Alumni history as Grade 11 guard Amit Rakhra went head-to-head against his father, 1983 graduate Gurlal Rakhra.

“It was an amazing day of fun and laughter and basketball,” said tournament organizer Kate MacLeod, herself a former Rambler graduating in 1990. “We were so thrilled to have so many former Ramblers back in the gym. We are excited about making this an annual event, and hope that it will be even bigger and better next year.”

Former members of the MRSS Ramblers Boys Basketball program who would like to re-connect and stay in touch may contact MacLeod on Facebook at “Ramblers Hoops” or via email to Katie_MacLeod@sd42.ca.

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