Joe Barrer knew the time was right, so the Davenport Assumption boys' basketball coach helped make the game happen.|
In the process, he added something new to the rivalry.
Tonight, for the first time since the 1995-96 season, Alleman and Assumption will meet in a scheduled regular-season contest at Don Morris Gym. Barrer and Alleman coach Pat Rangel were the ringleaders in resurrecting a series that started more than 50 years ago, but the end result was more than just a game.
A trophy was added.
"It gives our guys extra incentive," Barrer said. "That makes the rivalry unique. That gives us something we can keep going forward."
The traveling trophy will be presented to the winner, a keepsake in a rivalry that started during the 1959-60 season. With input from each school and constructed locally, the trophy features a wood base with a mounted brass 'A' that includes a cross signifying both institutions' commitment to Catholic education.
A permanent name will be given to the trophy at a later date.
"Credit the coaches for coming up with an idea of a traveling trophy," Alleman athletic director Steve Smithers said. "What a fun, unique thing for the two area Catholic high schools to do that."
The two teams played every year from the 1960 season through 1965. The first four years in that stretch, they played twice. After a 14-year hiatus, the series started again in 1979-80 before ending in 1988-89.
Although they faced each other in 1996, 2002 and 2006 at the Genesis Shootout, Alleman and Assumption have not played a regularly scheduled series since a five-year run ended during the 1995-96 season.
Smithers said "a couple factors" kept the two from playing on a yearly basis, with Alleman focusing on scheduling nonconference opponents based on possible postseason foes.
"You try to play nonconference games that are more meaningful when it comes to seeding," Smithers said. "We got caught up on that stuff too much. It took a couple guys to say it doesn't matter. It's about time, and it's the right thing to do."
Other than girls' soccer, the two schools are unable to schedule games in other sports because of seasonal conflicts. In recent years, the winner of the soccer match was awarded the Catholic Cup.
Basketball makes it two trophies.
"We were looking for something unique to do with the game," Barrer said. "Trying to create an event that would be memorable — the kind of stuff you see in college football."
Varsity tip-off tonight is 7:30 p.m.
"We're hoping both sides can look forward to every year and a memorable moment for their careers," Barrer said. "A fun cross-river Catholic rivalry. It's going to be a fun night."
The second game in the two-year deal is scheduled for Jan. 21, 2014 at Assumption. Both sides hope the series, and trophy, do not go dormant after that.
"I certainly see it going, unless something changes," Smithers said. "We have every intention of keeping it going."
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