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Rivalry remains vibrant for Victoria High, Stroman players

By Mike Forman
Aug. 16, 2014 at 6 p.m.
Updated Aug. 16, 2014 at 11:07 p.m.

Victoria High alumnus Craig Janecka goes up for a shot after breaking away from the Stroman High alumni defense during Saturday's Old Schoolz Alumni Basketball Game at the VISD Events Center gym. Janecka was named  MVP of the men's game. The men's game was won by Victoria High in overtime with a final score of 24-21.

Old Schoolz Alumni Basketball Game

• MVP: Tasha Stewart Mukugu, VHS

• Defensive MVPs: Yvonne Gbalazeh-Hart, VHS; Tiffany Simmons, SHS

• MVP: Craig Janecka, VHS

Defensive MVPs: Dwayne Upton, VHS; Joe Barnes, SHS

Time may have stood still for a few hours Saturday in the Victoria Events Center gym.

But the years away from the court didn't take long to catch up and did so with a vengeance.

"I'm going home to take a nap," Darryl Bates said as he walked to his car. "I told my kids to check on me every 10 minutes."

Bates and his Stroman teammates and their opponents from Victoria High - both male and female - came away relatively unscathed after meeting in the Old Schoolz Alumni Basketball Game.

The game was put together by Victoria High graduate Miracle Fingers Reed.

The gym was filled to near capacity and brought back memories for those who played or attended either of the two schools.

Stroman and Victoria High were consolidated into Memorial in 2000.

"It was unbelievable," said Yvonne Gbalazeh-Hart, who played at Victoria High and Stanford and currently resides in Houston. "I heard of all of them, and I had seen their names on the walls when I was here, and they're true legends."

Victoria High came out on top in both games. The Stingarettes captured a 29-23 win in the women's game.

The Stingarees and Raiders went to overtime in the men's game before Victoria High won 24-21.

The teams played 20-minute halves with the clock running until the final two minutes.

"It was fun," said Shay Porter Wells, who played at Stroman. "My body isn't what it used to be. Had I practiced before I stepped out there, my body would have probably appreciated that, but I didn't."

The Victoria High women were coached by Jan Lahodny, and Judy Linville coached the Lady Raiders.

Roy Blacknall coached the Stroman men, and Mike Smith coached the Stingarees.

The coaches had fun, but old habits die hard.

"I don't like a lot of things," Lahodny admitted. "They're disorganized. I wish we had more sideline plays, more offensive sets. But they can always play defense - that is a standard trait."

The men showed the rivalry remains as intense as ever. The game was extremely physical, and technical fouls were called on both teams.

"All the juices are flowing playing against these guys we played against 20 years ago," said Craig Janecka, who played at Victoria High and resides in Forney. "You still have the competitive energy. You don't have the moves or the stamina or any of that. Man, it was fun to battle with these guys. You can still see at 40 years old, all of us get a little heated, and there's still a lot of rivalry."

The players shook hands and lingered on the court after the games and are looking forward to meeting again next year.

"I've got to get my revenge," said Tedrick Valentine, who played at Stroman. "I know a lot of guys on that side, so I'll be back next year to get my revenge."

Others plan to return but purely as spectators.

"For the first time, I actually felt my age," said Victoria East coach Yulonda Wimbish-North, who played at Victoria High and Texas. "I had fun. Just being around coach Lahodny and some of the younger generations and just watching. I thought it was a great idea and a lot of fun. But if they have another one, I'm not playing."

Women

Victoria High 29, Stroman 23

STROMAN: Tanya Barnes 7, Shay Porter Wells 2, Robin Johnson 1, La Saundra Williams 5, Tiffany Simmons 6, Kendra Etzler-Walker 2.

VICTORIA HIGH: Stacy Carlo Jones 5, Yvonne Gbalazeh-Hart 6, Yulonda Wimbish-North 2, Alexis Ware 1, Tasha Stewart Mukugu 6, Miracle Fingers Reed 6, Angela Green Valentine 2, Brenda Conaway Etzler 2.

Men

Victoria High 24, Stroman 21, OT

STROMAN: Chad Thomas 4, Tedrick Valentine 6, Vernon Todd 6, Joe Barnes 5.

VICTORIA HIGH: John Szilagyi 2, Dwayne Upton 1, Julius Ramirez 3, Craig Janecka 8, Benny Stanley 7, Jimmy Smith 3.

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