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Tigers coming home to play

Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 4:27 p.m. CST

When Jesse Brandt first told me he wanted to put together an alumni basketball game of former Tiger basketball players, I thought it sounded like a great idea. So have the old Tigers.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 29 Tigers have signed up to play. They range from Tom Robbins of the class of ‘79 to Jacob Fisher of 2012. Now mind you, I don’t look at those guys from the class of ‘79 as really all that old.

“I think the guys are excited to play. I am hoping to make this something we do on a yearly basis,” Brandt said.

I’m looking forward to seeing the likes of Fred Cartwright of the Class of ‘87, who played on the first Tiger team under former coach Tony Lavorato I covered upon my arrival at the BCR just a few years ago. Fred’s a runner and looking in great shape.

They’ll surely be some family fun when you get the five Robbins boys together again - Tom, Scott (‘93), Doug (‘85), Jeff (‘87) and Jimmy (‘91). There will also be the Fishers, Jon (‘09) and Jacob (‘12), and the Vranas, Scott (‘06) and Ryne (‘10).

There will be two separate games, one for the younger Tigers and one for the more, shall we say, experienced Tigers. Brandt initially planned to match the even year graduates vs. the odd-year graduates, but now will mix them up to match up best.

In the first game, starting at 2 p.m., and ending as soon as they all pass out, the Blue team will feature: Tom Robbins, Gary Clark (‘83), Doug Robbins, Erick Wahlgren (‘86) and Jimmy Robbins. The White team includes Dave Enbom, David Robertson, Jeff Hunt and Scott Robins, all from the class of ‘83, and Jeff Robbins and Cartwright (‘87).

The more modern day Tigers contest will feature some familiar faces from Brandt’s top teams in the 2000s.

For the Blue will be Nathan Cook (‘00), Brandon Nyman (‘04), Andrew Shipp (‘07), Jonathan Henegar (‘08), Scott Roseberg, Zach Clark, Brik Wedekind and Ryne Vrana, all from 2010, and Jacob Fisher.

Suiting up for the White will be Justin Smith (‘04), Scott Vrana, Danny Nelson (‘06), Garrett Youngren, Brandon Dressler, Daniel Murray and Jon Fisher, all from 2009, and Ben Schmidt and Blair Bickett from the class of 2011.

I tried to talk Bureau Valley athletic director Jeff Ohlson, the hero of the 1992 sectional championship game, to suit up. He asked how long he’d have to try to play.

I heard from former Tiger and Wyanet Eagle Corey Helle (‘89), who is still balling in North Carolina. He’d like to play, but can’t make the trip back.

The players will be treated to a postgame dinner sponsored by the Booster Club at Fitzgerald’s. Any fans, family and friends are invited to come as well for a cost of $10. Contact Brandt at PHS for more info,

• Go Cubs go: Yes, you heard right. I am rooting for the Cubs to win Friday’s home opener.

This Redbird rooter wants the Cubs to win Friday for the Gelsomino family, who will be in attendance. Vince and Jeanie Gelsomino of Princeton will be taking their grandkids, Kasey and Nathan to the game. Sadly, their father, Danny, won’t make it.

Danny passed away March 18 after a long battle with cancer. A lifelong, diehard Cubs fan, Danny had been on the waiting list for season tickets for years. Two days after he passed, the tickets came in.

I know Danny, another former Tiger, will be there in spirit.

Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor. Contact him at khieronymus@bcrnews.com.

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