The year 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the 1996-1997 boys basketball team playing in the semi-finals state championship game, the farthest any Arcata High boys basketball team has ever gone. Two of the key players for the ‘97 team were captain Dusty Scofield (current AHS girls varsity coach) and Ryan Riewerts. We got in touch with these Tiger alumni to take a walk down memory lane and reminisce on the success of the 1997 boys basketball team.
Pepperbox: This is the 20th Anniversary of the 96-97 championship season. Looking back, what did that year mean to you?
Ryan Riewerts: That year was special for our group of athletes who’d played with or against each other since grade school. We were the definition of “team” and each of us played our role with a genuine love for one another that doesn’t exist very often in team sports. I personally take great pride in that season and am constantly approached each time I visit Humboldt County by those who saw us play that year, claiming that our games were the most exciting they’ve to this day ever seen. We seen as a team still have a love for each other that was forged on the basketball court and the drive that helped us create a championship season is still present as we strive to be the best men we can be for our children, family, friends, and our communities.
Dusty Scofield: Playing on the 96-97 team was a fun time we were able to win a section title and play in the Nor-Cal final, which I believe has never been done before in Div. 3.
PBX: What was it like to play to play in the Arco Arena?
R.R.: Playing in the Arco Arena was an unbelievable experience. In basketball terms, it was tough because the court was longer than we were used to and the basketball hoop was stationary (meaning it wasn’t attached to a wall) which made it difficult to shoot outside shots. All the gyms we’d played in up to that point had a wall of some sort behind the basket and the depth perception of the hoop was a little different. Another issue that presented itself was the NBA 3 point line was also on the court, so most of the 3 pointers we shot were NBA 3’s and longer shots than we normally shot during our games. As a basketball player you get a sense of where the lines on the court are and since were used to only having one 3 point line it was difficult to get used to in a single game. That said, it was an experience we’ll all remember forever. The crowd that followed us during that playoff run was amazing. They gave us so much support and the energy they brought to the gym to cheer us on each game has never, nor will ever be duplicated.
D.S.: Playing in the Arco was amazing, I remember being in the locker room and sitting in every chair thinking Michael Jordan could have sat there. It’s pretty cool to say we played on a professional court.
PBX: Did you go on and play college ball?
R.R.: I personally went on to play college ball in Hawaii, before coming back to Humboldt County to play one year at College of the Redwoods. While in Hawaii, it was awesome to play against a Stanford team that made the NCAA final four that year and multiple other D1 programs. Returning to Arcata was awesome, because the team we assembled at C.R. included a group of all the best players from Humboldt County. We had representatives from Arcata, Eureka, McKinleyville, Hoopa, and St. Bernards, so the crowd that followed us that year was similar to that when we went on our amazing run for Arcata High. We won our league at C.R. for the first time and I earned recognition as an all conference selection. I finished my college eligibility at CSU Hayward where we finished the season as co-champs and went to the national tournament in Branson Missouri. After I finished playing I worked for the Golden State Warriors teaching their kids camps all over the Bay Area while finishing my degree.
D.S.: I played one year at C.R., and did not return for my second year. I wish I would’ve had somebody to push me harder because I could’ve been a better player, however I was lazy and did not play hard all the time because I didn’t realize that I needed to be a complete player.
PBX: What are your hopes for the Arcata High basketball program?
R.R.: My hopes for the Arcata High basketball program are that the athletes are able to continue to compete against high level competition in a safe environment without restrictions due to lack of funding or cuts to extra-curricular budgets. I hope that the players have an opportunity to experience the support from their student body and local community that we did (what an
amazing feeling). I hope that the athletes represent themselves and their school as we did in a
positive yet competitive light. I also hope that they’ll get a victory Friday night during the AIBT
so that we can all celebrate as we once did with a victory for AHS. Finally, I hope that the
basketball program recognizes that Coach Robbie was a revolutionary coach that cared about
his players and taught them how to become young men while achieving success together on the
basketball court. He deserves his name on the side of the gym!
D.S.: I hope this year our team plays hard and we continue to get better and enjoy the season.
PBX: What advice would you give people currently playing or hope to play AHS basketball?
R.R.: The main advice I’d give to the young athletes currently playing basketball at AHS would be to enjoy your experience, compete until you have nothing left to give, and to cherish the bonds you’re creating with your coaches and teammates. The memories that you’re creating today will be with you forever and if you believe in each other the sky’s the limit. You just might do something special. The experiences of today shape the person you’ll be in the future. Hard work, determination, competitive spirit, and the love for your teammates will come in handy as you enter the working world. You are on a path towards success, based on the work ethic and values a team environment instills in an athlete. Go Tigers!
D.S.: I would tell anybody who plays or hopes to play at Arcata high is that it’s a great place to play it goes super fast so enjoy it and it’s not about individual playing time, points, or rewards the only thing you remember is the stuff that you did with your teammates, for example winning championships, roads trips, and funny things that happen.