ERIE – Rachel Cobert dribbled up the right side of the court on a fast break, pushing the ball up against a pair of defenders, when one of them stepped up and tried to swipe the ball away for a steal.
It was her sister, Courtney.
Courtney Cobert, five of her former Erie teammates, and three former Sterling players gathered at the Erie High School gym on Sunday, called there by Julie Schroeder to scrimmage against the Gazette team ahead of Thursday’s SVM All-Star Classic.
Schroeder – coaching the Gazette team for the All-Star Classic – called Courtney Cobert last week to see if she could get a group together. Schroeder also contacted some of her players from her days coaching at Sterling.
“I just thought it would be fun to have the mix and just come out and have fun on a Sunday night,” Schroeder said. “They all love to play basketball, and what a cool experience for me to watch them play.”
The Gazette All-Star team features four players who helped Erie win a regional title as seniors, as Rachel Cobert will take the floor one more time alongside Emily Cox, Delaney Tegeler and Caitlyn Maloney.
“It’s really fun,” Rachel Cobert said. “When we found out all four of us seniors were going to be able to play one last time, we were really excited for it. I think it’s going to be a really fun game. In this practice, seeing girls I played with in the past and my sister on the other side of the floor, that’s fun too.”
The four Erie players Schroeder has with her are four players who were waiting on the Cardinals roster when she arrived 2 years ago.
“It’s pretty fun to be able to coach them one last time,” Schroeder said. “When we practiced the other night, it was pretty fun to see they knew a lot of the plays we are going to run because of that.”
The squad of alumni the All-Stars were facing in Sunday’s scrimmage included former Sterling players Steph Echebarria, Nicole Renner and Gabby Sandoval, and former Erie players Tess Burns, Courtney Cobert, Lexi Floming, Desirae Lawson and Bailee Clausen.
“An All-Star game is really about having fun, but we thought it would be fun to run some set plays because these kids all know them,” Schroeder said. “Some of the Sterling kids that are coming were some of my most favorite kids that I’ve coached. My point guard from Erie the first year, it’s fun to see her back in the gym too.”
That point guard is Leela Thomas Parrish, a Hope College student back on the basketball court Sunday for the first time since she graduated from Erie in 2015.
“She texted me and asked me to play, and I said ‘I’ll play for you, but I’m going to die,’” Thomas Parrish said. “Just to be able to play for Julie is great.”
For Thomas Parrish, it was like a high school reunion. She was scrimmaging as part of the All-Star team to balance out the numbers, meaning she was once again passing the ball to Rachel Cobert and Emily Cox.
“I’m not playing at college, so going through a year without playing basketball was heartbreaking,” she said. “Now I’m back, it’s like home again.”
Thomas Parrish was more than happy to help Schroeder out, as was Sandoval, the North Park University guard who played for Schroeder at Sterling.
“I was really happy, because she was one of my favorite coaches,” Sandoval said. “It’s just a fun opportunity to play for her again.”
For the Erie and Sterling alumni, it was only a single appearance back on the court to help the All-Stars prepare for Thursday, but Sandoval hopes the Gazette team can take something away from it.
“It can be really fun,” Sandoval said. “I played last year, and I hope I can show them how fun it can be.”