Ball Out tournament brings out top alumni talent

Players from Saugus' and Hart's alumni teams square off in the Ball Out Alumni Tournament in the Saugus High School gym on Sunday. Ryan Painter/The Signal.

When Jawhar Purdy drained a 3-pointer to tie Saugus with Golden Valley 64-64 in the second annual Ball Out Alumni Tournament championship game, a wave of memories rushed across his alma mater’s court and crashed at his feet.

“I haven’t played in the Saugus gym for a while,” Purdy said. “So it brought me back to 2010 and just being able to suit up with the guys again. It’s very nostalgic.”

While the Grizzlies quickly pulled away after Purdy’s three for the championship trophy, both finalist teams were able to share in the reminiscing and compete for a good cause.

“It’s just a blast from the past,” said tournament MVP and GV alum Robert Looper. “Like, seeing everybody that we used to play with is just a really good thing. It’s been really great to see everybody again.”

Nine teams and an estimated 70 players took part in the tournament, which was held Nov. 11 and 12. Half of the proceeds from the event go to Saugus basketball, which won last year’s tournament.

Ball Out, a basketball training company, hosted the tournament with the goal of bringing the Santa Clarita Valley community together to showcase some of the best talent to come out of the area.

Looper currently competes in a pro-am team in Compton, while fellow Golden Valley alum Maverick Ahanmisi has played professionally in the Philippines for the past three years.

Purdy, who co-owns Ball Out with GV product Taylor Statham, has seen time in the pros in both the Philippines and Malaysia. Statham has played professionally in six different countries.

Hart’s Parker Dominguez, Canyon’s Travis Divita, John Burroughs’ Kevin Deeb and West Ranch’s Ako Kaluna each had successful college basketball careers as well.

With around 400 spectators on the first day of the tournament alone, there was plenty of opportunity for members of the basketball community, both young and old, to see some serious talent.

“It’s just bringing a community together,” Purdy said. “Bringing in some familiar faces together, all in the same gym. We’re all grown now, so we all have our careers and our families and just bringing us all under one roof for two days has been special.”

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