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Women add new layer to Al’s Alumni Classic

May 2, 2019

By David Nordby The Brillion News

REEDSVILLE – Last Saturday was the 31st year in a row that Al’s Alumni Classic has taken place in Reedsville. It was the first that former Panthers women played on the basketball court as part of the event.

The day has featured alumni games with the men, three-point contests and a scholarship recipient. The women’s game added a new spark to the day.

There were 22 women who were a part of the game with teams divided to have members of every decade on each team. Ellen (Sprang) Dietrich, class of 1977 and a member of the original Reedsville team, was the oldest participant on Saturday. Alexyss Schmidt, class of 2017, was the youngest.

“We knew the team started in 1975 and so to have women from that first team here today, it’s amazing. I’m going to tear up just thinking about it. It really is special. People want to come back,” Jill (Dvorachek) Kocian said.

Kocian became a member of the event’s committee last year. Other women had suggested it in the past, and Kocian brought it up again.

“Starting to just put feelers out because we really wanted to make sure we could get enough women together before we put the letters out,” Kocian said.

Dietrich, class of 1977, helped spread the word.

The different generations of players merged styles of basketball together on Saturday.

Mary (Brochtrup) Gilsdorf and Dietrich recall how there was no three-point line when they played and the majority of scoring was inside the paint.

Many of the participants don’t regularly play basketball anymore either, but said it was a no-brainer to be a part of it. The games turned out to be as competitive as an exhibition game can be, mixed in with some laughs. There was diving for loose balls, contested shots and even zone defenses.

That didn’t surprise Heather (Schultz) Kiekhaefer, class of 1994, who played on the team who went to state and is a current assistant coach for the school.

“Not by women, and not by these that were on my team. I think everybody has the same strategy that if I’m out on the court, I want to do my best,” Kiekhaefer said.

Please see the complete story and team photos in the May 2, 2019 edition of the Brillion News. 



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