The Sparks High School Booster Club recently hosted a 10-year reunion of its 2009- 10 basketball team that won the state championship, bringing all of Sparks High’s best players and supporting staff back together again.
The 2009-10 state basketball championship team was honored during halftime at the Feb. 1 boys varsity basketball game against Spring Creek where Sparks High won 55-48.
“I think they were motivated by having the state championship team there,” says Sparks Booster Club President Gregg Shugar. It is Shugar’s 17th year announcing and working the scoring/timing table at basketball games and he adds that he remembers how special that 2009-10 basketball team was and how he enjoyed being able to get everyone together.
“It’s a good message to those younger guys (on the current basketball team) that we don’t forget, we remember what it’s like to win a state championship,” Shugar says. Therefore, with the help of former Sparks High basketball coach Dick Lee and Sparks High alumni/ city councilman Donald Abbott, Shugar was able to bring the stellar team back together again. After the game, they then convened at Blind Onion to enjoy pizza, cold drinks, and share stories about what made that year so special.
“The guys reflected about how hard the practices were, but how it helped them become better players. And we talked a lot about that overtime game against Yerington to win the semi-finals, how the team won in overtime scoring that 3-pointer in that last-second shot,” Shugar says.
The team reminisced about how Sparks High Senior Angel Guillen won the Most Valuable Player that year for all of Nevada. “He was a pretty good basketball and football player here, now he’s a Sparks policeman,” says Shugar.
“We believed in what we were talking about and the team took care of each other,” he says regarding the magic formula that allowed Sparks High to secure the State Championship 10 years ago. “They all had each other’s back; they were a really tight knit group.”
Shugar adds that the fact that the team had five underclassmen that season (four sophomores and one freshman) also made the State Championship win special. The 10-year reunion also recognized former team managers Jasmine Hernandez and Andrea Hermosillo for their help in timing the practices, taking film, and keeping stats on the players.
As for where the 2009- 10 basketball team is now, those all-star players are still doing fairly well and involved in the community.
“Point guard Bryan Orellana is a realtor in Reno, Erik Garcia- one of the sophomores- is a manager at the O’Reilly’s in Sparks, DJ Devine is an actor in Los Angeles, Jorge Dorado and Henry Banks work at UPS, and Martin Jordan runs a flooring company.
“(The 2009-10 basketball team) was the first team in 70 years to win a championship at Sparks High School, so I like to use that as an inspiration to the younger kids. There are a lot of things that have to go right to win a championship, and this team had that. They were undefeated in the league that year, they won 16 games in a row,” Shugar says.
That season, Guillen averaged 26 points a game. In the following year after Guillen graduated, Martin Jordan won the 3A Player of the Year in the 2010-11 season.
“I’m hoping this year’s team will keep improving and as long as they play the game the right way then good things will happen. We try to instill in them that it’s not only important to be a good player but to also have the right attitude and mentality.
“I’ve been at Sparks High since 2000 and this was a special group of young men. To see them come in from middle school to becoming state champions and then turn into incredible adults, husbands, and fathers. I can’t wait to see what they do next. We’ll win another championship soon, though,” Shugar says.