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Cummings leads THS alumni team

The game had the flare of an NBA game, including one of its own former stars - Vonteego Cummings.

There was even a lot of offense and a lot of defense involved, including players falling to the hardwood - one of which caught an elbow. Play got rough from time to time under the boards.

It wasn't so much about winning as it was about former players getting a chance to renew their friendships at Thomson High School. It also was a time for many of them to reflect on what it was like playing for longtime THS Head Coach Michael Thomas, Sr. Coach Thomas and former assistant coach Bennie Lee Hester attended last Saturday night's benefit basketball game that featured many of their former star players. The game helped to raise money for a local youth AAU traveling basketball team, as well as the varsity boys' basketball team at Thomson High School.

A total of 24 stars played in the game - the biggest one being Vonteego Cummings, who played basketball for a Spain team in the European League last season. Now a free-agent, he is expected to be acquired by a new team in that league sometime in the near future.

"It's great to be home," Cummings told The McDuffie Mirror prior to the game. "I'm looking forward to playing the game."

He obviously was ready to play the game. For Cummings, who graduated in 1995 from THS before he went on to play for the University of Pittsburgh Panthers and later became the first-round draft choice of the Golden State Warriors impressed many at the game by scoring 24 points.

Cummings later resumed his conversation with Ray Pinkston, who served as his assistant coach during the alumni game. The head coach of the team was Tim Daniels, Sr.

Cummings and his teammates from the '90s era defeated the former stars of the 2000 era 103-101 in a thriller that went into overtime. At the end of regulation, the game was knotted at 97-97.

Aside from the exciting play of Cummings, one of his teammates, Octavious Mulligan also had an impressive double-digit game, pouring in 17 points. Mulligan is an '89 graduate of THS.

After the first 10-minute period, the 90's team held a 25-20 lead over the team from the 2000 era. Early on in the game, the 2000 team got some hot-shooting from Daniels, who hit two three-pointers. Teammates Terry Hill, Jr. and La Quinton Fort also contributed a long basket each.

One of the most exciting plays turned in by Cummings was when he stole a pass and quickly dribbled down court, making the basket and giving his team a 20-16 lead. By halftime, the 90's team held a slim 46-43 lead over their opponents.

The first basket of the second half tied the game, 46-46. It came on three-point shot by Richard Johnson, a 2009 graduate. Johnson came right back again to tie the game after matching a three-pointer by the 90's team. Johnson's team later captured the lead, 52-49 on a big basket by Fort, a 2008 graduate.

The more the game progressed in the second half, the more interesting it became.

With 1:29 left in regulation play, Cummings hit a pair of free-throws to put his team up 96-93. He later fouled out of the game. But Terry Hill, Jr. kept the game close, hitting a basket - thus making it anybody's game. Glenn Mitts went to the free-throw line with 34 seconds left, managing to hit one of the shots to give his team a 97-95 edge. The game became tied at 97-97 when Quincy Ramsey made a basket to send the game into a three-minute overtime period.

Mitts, who graduated in 1997, later hit a turn-around jumper to tie the game at 101-101. With just six seconds left in OT, Bubba Moss hit a free-throw to put the 90's team up 102-101. It wasn't until Mulligan hit a free-throw with five seconds left that the game actually belonged to the 90's team.



Web posted on Thursday, July 23, 2009













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