‘Ykema’ takes title in 1st annual TCU Alumni Basketball Tournament

The cagers battle it out Saturday afternoon in the first TCU alumni basketball tournament. Pictured above, from left, are 2012 MLHS graduate Dalton Zeug, 1986 Le Center graduate Chad Anderson, and 2003 Le Center graduate Phil Campbell. To see more photos, click on the blue button. (Wade Young photo)


Team “Ykema” defeated Team “Rynda” in the championship finals of the first annual Tri-City United Men’s Alumni Basketball Tournament, held Saturday, Dec. 29, at TCU High School. 
The hard-fought final game capped a very successful day of basketball, as 45 former Wildcats and Redbirds hooped it up for four hours in the gym.
Team “Kierzek” defeated Team “Kotek” to take home consolation honors.
Members of the winning Ykema team were Garrett Ykema, Kris Kelly, Marc Steffan and Brady Schloesser, all former Le Center ballers. The Rynda team had John Trnka, Dalton Zeug, Brian Rud and Jackson Rynda, all former Montgomery-Lonsdale players.
The final game went down to the last basket, with Kelly draining a 3-pointer to win it. Observers felt experience played a factor in the victory, as the older champions were able to hold off the ‘young guns’. 
In the consolation bracket, the Kierzek team was made up of Jeff Kierzek, Dan Friedner, Greg Westerman and Alex Grundhoffer. The Kotek team consisted of Jared Kotek, Steve Kotek, Josh Beulke and Jessie Beulke.
A total of 11 teams laced ‘em up to begin the 3-on-3 hoops competition, two from Le Center and nine from Montgomery-Lonsdale. 
Dan Vlasak was the oldest former player to participate, narrowly nosing out Dan Choudek, Kevin Keohen, Mike Prochaska and Chad Anderson for the honor. The ‘most out of shape’ award was too close to call, but longtime fans of the game noted that there were many qualified candidates in the running.
A post-basketball party was held at Neaner’s White Front in Montgomery, giving participants time to relax, reminisce and network with players from the past.
“With the success we had today — great turnout and great final — we can only hope to build on this year’s success and make the next event bigger and better,” commented TCU head coach Andrew Meier. “As word gets around, we will draw more players and teams next year.”
The 2013 tournament is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 28.
Tournament coordinator Chuck Rynda said after expenses, the event cleared $400 for the TCU basketball program.