Boys Varsity Basketball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
New name, same style for hoops awards fête
by Bill Roseberry March 23, 2018
In 2017, the Alton Exchange Club disbanded after more than 90 years of serving the Riverbend area.
Low numbers in the club, aging members and no new blood joining were the main reasons for calling it quits. The fraternity of community supporters did a lot for the area in its existence. One of the major events they supported was the annual Alton Exchange Club Player of the Year banquet, honoring the five Riverbend prep basketball programs — Alton, Civic Memorial, East Alton-Wood River, Marquette Catholic and Roxana.
The banquet is older than the NBA, beginning in the spring of 1946, while the professional basketball league began that fall. Last year marked the 72nd edition of the cherished event.
After a little bit of work, there will be a 73rd edition of the banquet. It’s scheduled for 6 p.m. on April 22 at the Best Western Premier Hotel on College Avenue in Alton. Tickets are $20 at the door the night of the event.
It’s back with a new name, but the same flair. The new name is an ode to Roxana High grad and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Harry Gallatin. It will now be called the Gallatin Players of the Year Banquet, also a nod to both the boys and girls programs receiving awards. The girls began being recognized at the banquet, along with the boys, in 1994.
Gallatin played and coached in the NBA and later became the first athletics director and men’s basketball coach at SIUE. He remains the only graduate of one of the five Riverbend schools to be inducted into the Naismith HOF. Even though his prep career ended before the banquet began, the late Gallatin is a perfect ambassador to represent Riverbend hoops.
A big shout-out to Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC for its help to re-energize the night of basketball. Chairman John Simmons stepped up to help and a committee has been put in place to help sustain the banquet and make it self-sufficient for the future.
For now the committee includes myself, retired sports journalist Steve Porter, former Wood River mayor Frank Akers, East Alton Mayor Joe Silkwood and Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC executive assistant Roger Lewis. Former Alton School District superintendent and longtime Alton Exchange Club member Dave Elson has also provided lots of appreciated guidance in the process.
Local prep hoops coaches have expressed interest in helping maintain the event in the future, too, and that will be welcomed with open arms.
The plan is to find ways to fund the banquet long term, so it can remain in place to honor these local prep athletes. Much like the Alton Knights of Columbus Quarterback Club and the Alton Road Runners Cross Country Runners of the Year banquet, the hoops fête is a great way to recognize these kids for their hard work. I personally think events like these are important, for the nostalgia and the efforts to support local youths.
Anyone interested in helping donate to the continued success of this event, or who wants to volunteer to be a part of it, can please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The speaker for the 73rd installment of the banquet will be Alton High grad and former Edwardsville School District superintendent Dr. Ed Hightower. The longtime NCAA men’s basketball referee was a first-time nominee for the Naismith HOF this year but did not advance to be a finalist for the enshrinement class this year.
Hightower refereed 12 NCAA Division I Final Fours in his career, is a member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and was named the Naismith Division I Men’s College Basketball Official of the Year in 1992.
Overall MVPs on the boys and girls will be awarded the night of the banquet, along with 110 percent, free throw shooting and team sportsmanship awards. Team MVPs and 110 percent winners will also receive plaques.
So come out, support these local athletes and support a tradition that’s been serving the area for much more than half a century.
ALTON EXCHANGE CLUB PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
2017 – Maurice Edwards of Alton and Allie Troeckler of CM
2016 – Shandon Boone of Marquette Catholic and Allie Troeckler of CM
2015 – Darrius Edwards of Alton and Allie Troeckler of CM
2014 – Deion Lavender of Marquette Catholic and Megan Trost of CM
2013 — Hunter Reine of Roxana and Megan Trost of CM
2012 — Hunter Reine of Roxana and Megkinize Carter of CM
2011 — Tony Bradley of Alton and Cassie Endicott of CM
2010 — Tony Bradley of Alton and Kelsey Harrison of East Alton-Wood River
2009 — Ryan Mathews of Alton and Michaela Herrod of Alton
2008 —Ruben Cotto of Alton and Katie Broadway of CM
2007 — Kavon Lacey of Alton and Katie Broadway of CM
2006 — Kavon Lacey of Alton and Katie Broadway of CM
2005 — Lorenzo Taylor of Alton and Emily Best of EA-WR
2004 — Nick Certa of Marquette Catholic and Emily Best of EA-WR
2003 — Nick Certa of Marquette Catholic and Jordan Davis of Roxana
2002 — Travis Williams of EA-WR and Casey Law of CM
2001 — Michael Stockard of Alton and Ashley Russell of EA-WR
2000 — Demarko “Book” Snipes of Alton and Michelle Beiermann of Marquette Catholic
1999 — Demarko "Book" Snipes of Alton and Kendra Snyder of Marquette Catholic
1998 — Tony Certa of Marquette Catholic and DoBee Oros-Moore of Alton
1997 — Marlon Crawford of Alton and Jenni Combes of CM
1996 — Nic Stotler of CM and Angela Payne of Roxana
1995 — Greg McDanel of Roxana and Erica Oge of Marquette Catholic
1994 — Eric Frankford of CM and Amie Gernigan of Marquette Catholic
1993 - Ty Laux of CM
1992 - Brad Bohannon of Marquette Catholic
1991 - Jonathan Denney of CM
1990 - Kevin Caldwell of Alton
1989 - Joe Vann of Alton
1988 - Steve Mason of Marquette Catholic
1987 - Jamie Humphries of CM
1986 - Larry Smith of Alton
1985 - Larry Smith of Alton
1984 - Dale Liley of EA-WR
1983 - Rick Taylor of Alton
1982 - Steve Wooley of EA-WR
1981 - Dan Coddington of EA-WR
1980 - Troy Washpun of Alton
1979 - Jim “Buzz” Logan of EA-WR
1978 - David Goins of Alton
1977 - Brad Scheiter of Alton
1976 - Leroy Stampley of Alton
1975 - Chris Schroeder of Roxana
1974 - Doug Nalley of Alton
1973 - Lafayette Collins of Alton
1972 - Dennis Olston of EA-WR
1971 - Ron Caldwell of Alton
1970 - Dave Taynor of CM
1969 - Mike Jeffries of Alton
1968 - Leon Huff of Alton
1967 - Ricci Stotler of CM
1966 - Jim Bailey of EA-WR
1965 - Terry Brown of EA-WR
1964 - Larry Jeffries of Alton
1963 - Bob Hilgendorf of CM
1962 - Larry Shoemaker of Alton
1961 - Gary Lane of EA-WR
1960 - Karl Doucleff of Western Military Academy
1959 - Jerry Messick of EA-WR
1958 - Mike Hunter of Alton
1957 - Jim Lemon of EA-WR
1956 - Cliff Talley of EA-WR
1955 - Essic Robinson of Alton
1954 -Richard Brown of Roxana
1953 - Dick Harbke of Roxana
1952 - Ron Fisher of EA-WR
1951 - Bob Kuhn of Alton
1950 - Lowell Pettit of EA-WR
1949 - Ron Bedwell of Roxana
1948 - Sam Vinyard of EA-WR
1947 - Bob Caffery of EA-WR
1946 - Dick Erzen of EA-WR