By Rob Kiser
It was an idea that came to Heath Butler as he has built the Piqua boys basketball program from where he started six years ago.
And it came to fruition Wednesday night in Garbry Gymnasium at Piqua High School.
The first of what is expected to be an annual event took place with the Piqua Alumni basketball game.
Playing for the Red team were Tavian Williams, Justin Hemm, Josh Holfinger Kindric Link, Jordan Feeser, Luke Karn, Phil Collier, Taylor Wellbaum, Mike Coppock, Dustin Black, Cedric Wright and Aaron Christy.
Playing for the Blue team were Eddie Palmer, Brad Robbins, Matt Phyillaier, Seth Fashner, Jon Dolph, C.J. Davis, Kris Brown, Jon Allen, Dee Stewart, Brady Hill, Nash Black and Craig Clemons.
“I took the program over six years ago,” Butler said. “We have been fortunate enough to have some successful teams. I think some people forget that Piqua has a great tradition in basketball. So, I wanted to bring some of those guys back.”
And Wednesday seemed like the perfect time to do it.
“A lot of them are back in town for Thanksgiving weekend,” Butler said. “It was a good time when we could get a lot of them together.”
Clemons, a 1968 Piqua Central graduate, went on great success in football.
He was an All-American in football at Iowa, went on to an NFL career as a defensive back with the Chicago Bears and is a member of the University of Iowa Athletic Hall of Fame.
“It was great to see a guy like Craig Clemons here,” Butler said. “He played here around the same time as the 1969 team (pointing up to the banner in the gym which recognizes Piqua’s only district champion in basketball). It was great just to get these guys together.”
Dale and Brad Robbins are a great example of what the night was about.
Dale was back in his familiar seat as Piqua PA announcer, which he did for years and Brad showed he hadn’t lost any of the moves that made him a great post player for the Indians back in the 1990s.
“Really, this was about parents coming out and seeing there kids play and having a good time,” Butler said. “You see the people over in the stands watching their kids over players that they know and having a good time. That is what this is all about.”
It was also a fundraiser for the basketball team, with concessions and Piqua gear being sold.
“We made a little money,” Butler said. “And everybody had a good team. It was good (for the current players to see). It should give them a humbleness. Your time here goes fast and before you know it, you are going to senior banquet and done. So, you need to take advantage of the opportunity.”
The one thing that didn’t matter was the score.
“The main thing was for guys to get back together, see each other and talk and have a good time,” Butler said. “This was about having fun.”
And it was an idea whose time had come.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.