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Basketball Alumni Game a Holiday Tradition
The Milford High basketball team plays a number of big games each year, from huge league tilts to district tournament contests. But one of the most memorable games of the year for the team doesn't count in the standings and doesn't have the best attendance. It's the alumni basketball game, played each year on the morning of Christmas Eve.
"It's been growing a lot over the years, I think we had around 30 guys there this year," said head basketball coach Steve Manguso. "It's turned into a nice thing. The game is at 9, so the kids drag themselves out of bed and they get to see and talk to each other. They see the team that is playing now. After the game, we have some pizza and then everyone has their family holiday plans."
Manguso says the game has been going on for about 15 years. It started as a holiday get-together with the players going out to breakfast. There was also a time when Manguso considered having an organized game in an effort to raise money for the program. Over the years, the gathering has included meals at hotels and local restaurants, but it has evolved into the more casual incarnation the players enjoy today with the games and some pizza in the lobby.
"It's become somewhat of a Christmas tradition," said Michael Colelli, a three-year varsity player at MHS who graduated in 2003. "Christmas Eve morning you know that you start your few days with family and friends playing basketball with your former teammates and catching up with guys you don't usually see."
"The competition is pretty intense," said Bob Kenny, who graduated in 2001. "Although we are all just having fun, we still don't like to lose. Also, Coach Manguso uses it as a practice tool so we go at it pretty hard."
"Coach usually has the team press so he can torture his former players one more time every year," added Colelli.
Manguso said he is usually impressed by how his former players have stayed in shape over the years. "Some of these guys still look pretty good out there," he said. "I think the kids who recently graduated really look forward to it, but we get a lot of the same guys and a lot of different guys every year, and some parents who attend as well."
"The best part is getting to see old teammates and getting the rundown from Coach Manguso on how the team is going to be this year," said Kenny.
While Manguso is more than happy to welcome his former charges back to town and buy them some pizza, he has no intentions of getting out there on the court with them. "No way," he said with a chuckle. "I am not going to let them get a shot at me, most of them have been dying to for years."




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