Parkway West will be celebrating 50 years of basketball Saturday (Jan. 20).
Here is the schedule of events:
9 a.m. Girls varsity alumni game.
10 a.m. Boys retro varsity alumni game for classes 1969 through 1993.
11 a.m. Boys modern varsity alumni game for classes 1994 through 2017.
12:30 p.m. Girls varsity plays Parkway Central.
2 p.m. A girls and boys varsity basketball alumni recognition ceremony. This will include the recognition of varsity basketball alumni, honoring the 1986 and 1991 boys state Final Four teams and special recognitions including members selected to the Parkway West boys basketball all-decades team.
4 p.m. Boys varsity plays Parkway Central.
5:30 p.m. A celebration at the Shack, 14810 Clayton Rd.
“We have about 20 guys playing in the retro game and around 40 playing in the modern game,” Parkway West boys coach John Wright said. “Former coaches Mike Pratte and Bill Sodemann will be in attendance throughout the events as well as former assistant coaches.
Wright it is important to look about over the 50 years of Parkway West basketball.
“This is a great opportunity to honor our varsity basketball alumni and former coaches for their contributions to our program,” Wright said. “Our program has been very successful over the last 50 years and we want to honor those that have built a strong tradition at Parkway West.”
Parkway West girls head coach Allie Boedeker agreed.
“This is exciting for the program,” Boedeker said. “The program has had so many accomplishments, both on the boys and girls side. It’s really neat to be able to get all the people that have been a part of the rich history of West basketball back together and celebrate their accomplishments.”
Wright said the current Longhorns know about the program’s history.
“We have talked a lot about this day with our current team,” Wright said. “They realize the honor they have being the 50th team in Parkway West history. It will be eye opening for them to see almost 100 varsity basketball alumni in attendance.”
Parkway Central was the first school in the district. Parkway West was the second. The programs have been rivals ever since.
“There were some students from Central that came to West when it opened,” Wright said. “This was the beginning of a great rivalry between our schools.”
The girls lost to Parkway Central 72-40 earlier this season in a tournament game. Now they meet in a Suburban Central Conference contest.
“The girls are excited for a Saturday game against their rival,” Boedeker said. “I think the large crowd will definitely help them get more pumped up. Central is a huge rivalry for us. We haven’t beat them in a long time and the girls are always amped up to play Central.”
The Longhorns (5-9) have improved since that first meeting with the Colts, Boedeker said.
“We are a completely different team than the beginning of the season,” Boedeker said. “We played Central game three of the season. Our team is young and continues to get better with each game we play.”
The girls enter the game against the Colts with a four-game winning streak.
“Things are definitely picking up with our four-game win streak,” Boedeker said. “The girls are more confident and are starting to click. I am really proud of them.”
Earlier this season, Parkway Central defeated the Parkway West boys 67-47. Now, the two meet in a Suburban Central Conference game.
“We always treat this game as a huge date on our schedule,” Wright said. “They have a very experienced and talented team so we will need to execute a lot better to be successful.”
The boys team is 3-11. Wright said the “season has certainly been a learning process” but that his squad continues to work hard to get better.
“We are focusing on trying to improve in the fundamentals of the game,” Wright said. “We have been inconsistent but the boys realize that we will have to work hard in practice each day for us to have a successful end to our season.”