Graduates of Marietta High School flocked to town Friday for the annual Marietta alumni basketball tournament.
Games were played at Sutton Gymnasium at the high school as well as the gyms at Marietta Middle School and Wood County Christian School.
The double elimination tourney will continue through Sunday when champions for each division are crowned. Competition kicked off Friday at 6 p.m. at Sutton Gym when the classes of 2005 and 2006 squared off.
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Anthony Youngblood (2006), right, attempts a shot as Jason Schob (2005), left defends at Sutton Gym Friday night. 2006 defeated 2005, 56-55.
At every skill level, free throw shooting often ends up being a main deciding factor as to who wins and loses a basketball game. That proved to be the theme Friday night at MHS.
Trailing 55-53 with time running out in the game, 2006 grad Alan Porter pulled up for a 3-point attempt and was fouled, giving him three foul shots with one second left. Porter sank all three freebies to put his team ahead by one. The 2005 team was unable to get a shot off, giving '06 the victory.
"I was like 'I'm gonna lose this for us,'" Porter told a spectator in the bleachers.
"I was so nervous," he laughed. "I got lucky."
Even in a tournament consisting of friendly competition and a relaxed atmosphere, the pressure can build up when a game is on the line.
Porter, who teamed up with classmates Danny Cawley, Anthony Youngblood, Kyle Welch and others, defeated a 2005 squad led by new Marietta football head coach Jason Schob.
Later in the evening, the charity stripe again played a pivotal role at the end of a game.
The class of 2008 trailed the class of 2009 50-48 in the closing seconds when '08 player Christian Hudspeth was fouled on the baseline. Hudspeth, facing a one-and-one scenario at the line, drained both foul shots to end the game in a tie.
"Free throws are something I've always worked hard on growing up," said Hudspeth, who finished with a team-high 20 points.
Hudspeth downplayed the pressure of the moment, saying "It's just a fun thing. It's a situation where if you make them you get props from your buddies. If you miss, it's not a big deal."
Anthony Tabler and Zane Eschbaugh, who both enjoyed productive prep careers under former Marietta head coach J.D. Secrest, led the way for the 2009 squad.
OTHER FINAL SCORES: The class of 2011, led by Marietta College soccer standout Wes Riley and 6-foot-10 center Jon Sewell, topped the class of 2003 by a score of 72-62. ... Tyler Davis, who played collegiately at Ohio Valley University, was the top scorer for the class of 2010, which triumphed over the class of 2007 55-42. 2007 won the tournament a season ago.