HOLLAND — Nostalgia was in the air at the Dutch Dome on Sunday afternoon, as graduates from several local high schools gathered for alumni basketball games to benefit Holland High School's athletic department.
The event pit two teams of Holland alumni against one squad from West Ottawa and another from Holland Christian. The idea came from Dutch alumn Coreontae DeBerry., who played collegiate at the University of Cincinnati and has since played professionally around the globe, most recently in Spain. DeBerry's professional team, the Cincinnati Warriors, took on Flint United before the alumni action got going and treated the crowd to an NBA All-Star-like exhibition with dazzling dunks and deficiency of defense.
DeBerry was originally just planning on having the Warriors come to town so he could revisit where he grew up. But he realized there was a ton of potential to have former players relive their glory days and put on their alma maters colors one more time.
"It felt good to come back out here and put the H on again, be back out there with my brothers, especially Trent Windemuller," DeBerry said. "Just being out there with guys I haven't played with in 10 years, it was unbelievably fun."
The cross-town rivalries remained friendly on the floor, with the former Maroons topping Holland 73-49, and the Dutch earned a comeback 69-67 win over West Ottawa in the second game. The results on the scoreboard when the final horn sounded was not particularly important to the majority of the people in the Dutch Dome on Sunday, though.
The teams had players who graduated as recently as 2022 and as long ago as 1995 and everybody was there to have some fun, maybe relive their glory days and most importantly - raise money mullfor the current student-athletes. Tickets to the event were sold for $20, which featured three games, a DJ and some live performances in between games. All the proceeds from the event went directly back into the Holland High School athletic department.
"It's going to help kids play sports here at Holland High, you know sometimes kids don't have the best situation all the time at home," DeBerry said. "I wanted to help give back, make things smoother for them, like if they can't pay for a physical or some shoes, I want to make sure they [get that] and can be a part of Holland High School sports."
Blake Muller, Holland's athletic director, was thrilled with how the event went off. Because of DeBerry's idea and the community rallying around it, they were able to raise over $7,000 for the athletic department. That money will be used to help buy equipment, pay for field maintenance, transportation and so much more.
But the biggest takeaway from the afternoon was the sense of community. Even after a tight final game where the Dutch won in the final seconds, players from both teams were on the court chatting for nearly an hour after the final horn sounded. Reminiscing on old times and catching up with each other was wonderful and at the end of the day, they're just glad they can help give future athletes the opportunities they had when they were in school.
"It's really cool that everybody can come together for this, whether it's Holland, Holland Christian or West Ottawa," Muller said. "It was really cool to see this many people come out and support to see the players who gave and continue to give a lot to this community."
This article originally appeared on The Holland Sentinel: Former stars shine again in alumni charity game featuring three local schools