Alumni Bring it Home at Homecoming Game
Ocracoke School graduates from 1977 to 2010 suited up in the Dolphins royal blue away uniforms to prove they've still got it. Many of the alums regularly play pick up basketball. Others are less diligent about keeping up their skills.
The high school boys were determined to out run and out hustle the more mature team. In this, they succeeded. The wealth of former Dolphin talent exploited their superior size and numbers, ending up with a victory for one of the home teams.
1977 alumnus and school board member David Tolson was introduced first, and jogged to the center circle. Junior Casey Tolson ran out from the Dolphin bench to offer his father a crutch, setting the tone for the fun yet hard-fought game.
The crowd was totally into it, and made their voices heard. Extraordinary former player Wade Austin spoke for most when he said he was rooting for "the school team."
Bill Evans (class of 1988) and David Scott Esham (class of 1990) controlled the inside, but had to fight Andrew Tillett for for that advantage. The crowd seemed to particularly enjoy it when Andrew blocked shots and wrestled rebounds from the opposing team.
Former shooting guards Carl O'Neal and Robbie Lewis were in fine form, with Robbie grinning and leaping exuberantly every time he took the floor. He didn't get the nickname "hot dog" for no reason, said Bill.
Beach O'Neal, Chris Waller and Daniel "Giddy" O'Neal took turns returning to their glory days at the point. Chris drew appreciative hoots from the crowd for an early air ball, but refused to be cowed by his fellow islanders, sinking two threes in the second half.
The O'Neal cousins still have quick reflexes and naturally blonde hair. They plagued the Dolphin guards on defense. Looking good, gentlemen!
The alumni, who took advantage of their time outs and used wholesale substitutions to rest their weary bones, led at the half.
The younger squad came out for warm ups at the break, lined up on half court, and tried to cajole the men to join them in a series of jumping jacks and push-ups. With age comes wisdom, and the alumni did not rise to the bait.
A few Dolphin players bounded over and literally ran circles around the opposition, revealing their second half game plan.
The young men raced up the floor, tying the score twice before taking the lead. The opposition was breathing heavily, and there was an occasional limp and grimace.
Coach David Allewalt gave all his players plenty of game time, and often had a look of pure delight.
The audience response each time an alumnus crashed to the floor was balanced between concern and hilarity. The former players didn't hop up quite as quickly as the current ones.
Andrew was smothered on the inside, so the Dolphins practiced their outside shooting. Dolphin forward Walker Garrish is going to be formidable, as he can step out and find his sweet spot, and has a knack for rising to the occasion.
David Scott was a force in high school and, entering his fifth decade, impressively is a more nimble and agile player than he was back in the day --admittedly, with a little less lift. Still a competitor, he checked himself back into the game, and the alumni opened up a double digit lead.
2010 grad Aaron Caswell has never let his long ponytail interfere with his moves. Aaron specializes in baseline drives and casually sinking difficult-to-defend shots from impossible angles.
It didn't hurt the adult team that some players often didn't make it back on defense during the second half. Bill, David Scott, and Marcus Lawson made long outlet passes--some more successful than others--to cherry pickers. Marcus swarmed the boards and slashed his way to the basket in the second half.
A highlight of the night was Bill dropping in a free throw granny shot, Pete Maravich style.
The Dolphin boys ended their season knowing they can take on anything and anyone, and that basketball will always be in their future.
Visit the Ocracoke School page of Ocracoke Current to read the wrap up of the Dolphin 2011-2012 season!