ALL-AMERICAN RATHSKELLER of State College, in 1965,  the Skeller won the 15th Annual Tyrone YMCA Open Basketball Tournament by defeating Sam's Furniture of Philipsburg 116-113 in overtime. Ray Snyder of Bowling Green University scored 56 to lead the Skeller in the championship game. The Skeller was coached by Dean Smith (yes, that was his name, and he was the owner of the Skeller). Other members of the winners were: Bob White, Harvey Gorsuch, Tom Leidy, Gary Ripple, Doug Maxim, and Bill Gaffey. The Rathskeller still exists today at the corner of College Avenue and Pugh Street. It has the same name, but it lacks the unique ambiance of the past. No Jerry Walther, no "Swifty," no "Coast-to-Coast, no "Buck," no Jack, no Arnie, no Ulo, no Tim, no Bobby B. The only name from the past which still remains is "Spagett." He has passed on, but his name remains on a plaque at the bar.        

(Photo: Dean Smith, 1965, coach and then the proprietor of the Rathskeller).  (Photo credit: Tyrone Daily Herald ).


Beaver Falls 8th Avenue Gym.   Western Pa. hoops buffs will  recall the Spring of '70, when the Beaver Falls Tigers hosted a Western Pa. All-Star Game at the BF 8th Ave. Gym, featuring the Beaver County All-Stars vs. The Pittsburgh Area Box-Car Boys. The county All-Stars were led by Oscar Jackson and Mickey Davis (Milwaukee Bucks), David Johnson (Farrell) and Randy Crowder (Farrell/Miami Dolphins) vs. Box Car's Jonathan Marshall (Clairton), Billy "Mooney" Knight (Pitt/Braddock), Coleman and Lucas of Schenley fame. That was a great era for Western Pa. hoop lore -- one that should never be forgotten. Mooney Knight is currently General Manager and Executive Vice President of the Atlanta Hawks. -
(Timothy Cox, Staff Writer, the Augusta Georgia Chronicle News)

Beaver Falls 15th Street Playground.  
The 15th Street Playground was centrally located and attracted everyone in the city. It was also across the parking lot from Central Elementary School.  All the kids from throughout the city eventually gravitated to the central part of the city, to the Playground or to The Court in the  mid-1960s to the mid-70s.  They shoveled the court whenever it became snow-covered.  Numerous15th Street Playground legends  helped ignite Coach Frank Chan's BF Tiger success, which has since captured three Pa. State championship titles, 1970, 1994 and in 2005.  (Timothy Cox, Staff Writer, the Augusta Georgia Chronicle News)  See his Playground Website at

.  Found in the bleachers  in gymnasiums around the state of Pennsylvania are one of the unique parts of the game of basketball, the fans.  Here we mention but a handful representing the thousands and thousands who have gone to games home and away and followed their favorite team or found other games and went to watch special teams, players, or the playoffs. They might be the rabid, but knowledgably fans in Steelton, who will applaud not only the hometown, but outstanding performances of the visiting team.  It might be the individual fans who followed their team at home and on the road:  Louie Iorfida and Billy Gorman from St. Marys, Bill Leitzel and Gus Hackenburg from Millersburg, Vic Zigo and Stan Peters from Mercer, "Cookie" LeVan and "Junior" Asti from Johnsonburg, Robert Unser and Carl Waller from Allentown, Gene Colleran and Lynn Heilman from Harrisburg,  or remember the night that Harry Pelligrini, a local restaurant owner  crawled through a school house window to get into a crowded and closed to any more fans gymnasium just to see a big game in Altoona. 

 BRASS RAIL RESTAURANT. In 1931, Philip Sorrentino opened a hot dog and hamburger shop at 1141 Hamilton St. in Allentown.This place of business opened in 1933 and closed in January of 2001. Sorrentino came to the United States in 1917 when he was 9. In the years between, thousands of athletes and fans stopped by after the game for what became the speciality of "the Rail", the steak sandwich. Their Allentown Fair jingle:" A little sauce, a little meat, all the onions you can eat!"

Kenneth Link, Emmaus '59

   In 1956, Kenneth Link of Emmaus High School set the record at the Brass Rail Restaurant after an Emmaus - Nazareth basketball game, when he consumed seven steak sandwiches, three whole pizza pies and15 birch beers. Ken Moyer was the coach in the 1950 's for the Emmaus "Green Hornets." In 1959, they went 21 and 4, the school's greatest basketball season to that point in their Lehigh Valley sports history.

BRYCE JORDAN CENTER. The new home for the Penn State University Nittany Lion Basketball team. Poor design and poor management took the "sixth man" out of the game in this huge facility. Penn State students used to stand in old Rec Hall and provide the enthusiasm necessary to push the Nittany Lions to victory. Then students were pushed back into the corners of the newer, large facility and away from the action. As a result, students lost interest in going to games. Later, some seating changes were made to address this problem. College athletics go the wrong way when the emphasis is on money, satisfying the alumni, and big money supporters! We say, "put the students back into the game!" See Big Ten Arenas.

R.D. #1, Green Lane, PA.

Kraft can be seen in the center of this photo providing instruction.

Jack Kraft, the Villanova Coach, ran one of the top high school basketball camps in the nation in the 1960 's and 1970 's. The top players in the nation attended free by working as waiters. One of those waiters was Artis Gilmore, a 7 '2" Alabama schoolboy who later went on to collegiate and professional fame. Two top Kraft assistants were George Raveling and Dan Dougherty, both later head college coaches. The top college coaches in America, including Bobby Knight, "Lefty" Driesell and many others, were the guests each summer. All gamePPs were played on outdoor courts. The 1972 Camp ended just before the famous '72 Pennsylvania Flood.  Jack Kraft was one of the true gentlemen of the game!



Chester High School. Chester, PA, "The Clip Joint"
(Photo courtesy Dave Burman)




Christian Street YMCA  found at 7th Street and Christian Avenue in Philadelphia.  One of the oldest YMCA's  in the USA (founded in 1889) and the first to have its own building (1914). Where Zac Clayton, Tarzan Cooper and Fats Jenkins of the New York Rens and Frank Washington of the Harlem Globetrotters developed their skills. In 1953, Wilt Chamberlain, a 6-10 10th-grader, led Christian Street to the YMCA national title.  (USA Today, Roscoe Nance: 2/8/02)

Chester's William Penn Projet Court

The William Penn Projects outdoor court-

Dave Burman the Chester historian calls it "Chester's Best Outdoor Public Court"




CLEARVIEW PLAYGROUND,  Hanover, PA. Three boys who attended St. Vincent's Grade School played often at the Clearview Playground in their younger days. The three later went on to professional sports careers: Tom Sterner as an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic, Pat Flaherty a tight ends coach with the Chicago Bears, and John "Tucker" Gabriel named NBA Executive of the Year in 2001 as the General Manager of the Orlando Magic. (Information credit: York Sunday News, 3/4/01)

  Clintonville is a small town of 528 residents today and is found 54 miles north of Pittsburgh with an exit off of Route 80.  Clintonville High School played their basketball games at Clintonville Hall.  Gloria Hale (class of 1946) played there and remembers that the people sat on benches as either side of the court.  A lot of seating was not necessary if you take into consideration that her graduating class "had 12 or 14 students."  Her sister, Jean McBride remembers that Clintonville High School closed its doors in 1950 and students went to the new Victory Joint High School.   That lasted for 10 years and Victory Joint then became part of Franklin High School.  (Telephone conversation with Gloria Burke and Jean McBride, the Hale sisters, 11/6/12)

CONSHOHOCKEN. The Albert C. Donfrio Basketball Classic, which started in 1960 is a single-elimination tournament played at The Fellowship House of Conshohocken; it features most of the best high school players in the Philadelphia-South Jersey area, and often draws players from as far away as North Jersey and New York.
The Fellowship House is located at 5th and Harry Streets. (Harry is one block off of Fayette Street, the main street in Conshohocken. If you enter Conshy from the Schuylkill Expressway/Blue Route side by going across the big bridge, you will be on Fayette Street. Go to 5th and make a right. The Fellowship House is one block down on the left-hand side.) The phone number is 610-828-3266. (Information credit: the Ted Silary website).

CIVIC ARENA, Pittsburgh, PA. Home court for the former Dapper Dan Roundball Classic. It hosted record Roundball crowds in 1976 (16,166), 1977 (16,649), and 1978 (16,355). In the 1974 game, big Moses Malone made a steal in the closing seconds of the game and scored to give the U. S. a 77-76 win over Pennsylvania. Malone tallied 31 points in that game. In 1981, Patrick Ewing led the U.S. to a 108-73 win over Pennsylvania. Shaquille O'Neal was the 1989 MVP.  It's now the Mellon Arena, changing names.

DEEP RUN VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL, its no longer in existence, but the gym they used for their basketball games was built from collecting funds from people in the area including even pennies.  It was located in Blooming Glen, PA.  (Yvonne (King) Bleistein, 6408 Yates Ford Rd, Manassas, VA  20111).

(Credit St. Mary's Daily Press)


 DINO'S PLACE, Found at 233 Market Street in St. Mary's, PA, your congenial host is Dino Dinsmore who has coached numerous teams and sponsors numerous  men's and women's teams. A place where fans, coaches, and ex-players have been stopping by to discuss current games and relive the memories of past games.  Pat Gahr from Harrisburg, Jack Renwick from Sparks, Nevada and Dan Conners from San Luis Obispo, California always stop by when they are in town as do many others.  Who's there tonight, call (814) 834-6770 and find out.

DOBOSH CAFE, at 5-7 East Catawisssa Street, Nesquehoning, PA 18240. A throw back to the early 20th century, the Dobosh Cafe was still being operated in 2004 by daughter, Margaret Mary Dobosh or "Skipper" as she was known. At age 90, she recounts the 1921 and 1922 seasons for Mauch Chunk Twp. Jr-Sr High School when her brothers George Dobosh (University of Pennsylvania) and Nick Dobosh (Northwestern) were playing high school basketball. Three shifts of miners would stop at the Dobosh Cafe after work for drink.  The favorite topics at the bar were basketball, the union, and coal.  People in Nesquehoning remember their mother, Mary Bodnar Dobosh who raised six sons and a daughter while operating the Dobosh after her husband had passed away.  She was a very resourceful woman and encouraged her children to work hard at whatever they undertook.  She could be heard in the spectator section at the home games, once imploring the referee to "watch that fellow, he just pushed my Nickie!" However by 2007, you could no longer step back into time after ascending the steps in front and entering the family  business which   had operated at this location since 1914.  The doors were closed and the business had ceased to operate.

ERIE. Two players who excelled in both football and basketball. Fred Biletnikoff (Erie Tech H. S.and  Mel Laskoff (Erie East H.S.).  Laskoff was named to the 1953 AP All-State Football team and Biletnikoff went on to play with the Oakland Raiders.

FARM SHOW ARENA, Harrisburg, PA.1966,the site of the State Championship Game for Class A of the PCIAA. The championship was won by the Johnstown Bishop McCort "Crimson Crushers." Led by Smear, Patcher, and company the "Crimson Crushers" used a mechanical offensive game to overcome the individual record scoring of Tony Kinn of Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt who drilled home 44 points in a losing effort. The scoring record for this facility is held by Greg Manning of Steelton with 57.  The PIAA State Championship Game was held here for 15 years.

FROGGY'S RESTAURANT at 100 Market Street (Near Market Square), Pittsburgh, PA 15222. It was a favorite gathering place for the top basketball coaches and sports aficionados in the Western Pennsylvania area. Froggie himself is a University of Pittsburgh graduate. Dauer Stackpole was his roommate. In the 1980's when Paul Evans was the Pitt basketball coach, he and his staff could be found among the crowd of Pittsburgh sports notables.  But in 2004, Froggy's slipped into the shadows of the past as it closed its doors ending another chapter in combined culinary and sports history for Western Pennsylvania fans.

GORDIE FOSTER GYM In 2003, the Upper Dauphin School Board named the school's gym after longtime coach, Gordie Foster.  His 39 years of coaching netted over 700 wins, 702-282 (640-162 in high school).  His career took him through Gratz, Lykens, Upper Dauphin, and then Lebanon Valley College.  He won 20 league championships and five District Three championships during his high school coaching days.   (Patriot News, 8/14/03).

GORNIK'S FIELDHOUSE across from the steel mill in Steelton, PA and for the years the meeting spot for sports fans after games, the meeting place for the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame, the banquet for the Mid-Penn Officials, and in 1984 the Williamsport Millionaires of Coach Pete White ate their pre-game meal there before their Four A State Championship victory over Erie Prep. Al Gornik, the owner, host, and congenial Notre Dame fan, as usual prepared a Championship meal! Al Gornik also served on the Judges Panel for the PA/MD Slam-Dunk contest. The walls of the Fieldhouse were always decorated with tons of sports memorabilia. In 1998 after closing hours, a fire destroyed the Fieldhouse, truly a piece of basketball lore!

GUS GENETTI'S RESTAURANT. The best amateur athletes in the Wyoming Valley were honored Saturday Feb 4, 2001 at the 18th Annual Killer Bees Athletic Association awards banquet heldat Genetti's. Frank Cerreta, Sr. of Wilkes-Barre, was the recipient of the Jim McCarthy Sr. Media Award. Cerreta is a long-time local radio personalitywho has done radio play-by-play for high school athletic events during the1960s and 70s. The award is named in honor of the late Jim McCarthy Sr., a nationally known figure who was a local broadcast pioneer. Lake-Lehman's Sarah Davis was the winner of the female Student-Athlete Award. Davis has a 99.7 GPA, ranked first in her class with a 1410 SAT score, playing volleyball, basketball and softball at Lehman and was team captain for the volleyball and basketball teams.

GROTTO'S PIZZA. The Sky Box Sports Bar in the Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes Barre. It was at its best when Gary Griffin was the bar manager. If you go in on a Friday now, you will find it took two people to replace him. Have you ever played in a "bouncing quarters" basketball tournament? It happened there under the watch of Gary Griffin. Grotto's still has the best pizza in Wilkes Barre, or at Harvey's Lake, or at the Jersey Shore. You can't beat it, basketball and great pizza!!  But we miss Gary!

HERSHEY PARK ARENA, Hershey, PA, the long time home for the state basketball playoffs and the state championship game.  Pittsburgh and the Civic Arena hosted the 1979 State Championship Game, all the games since that were held at Hershey Park Arena. On State Championship Weekend, games were held Friday afternoon and evening, and Saturday afternoon and evening. That all ended in 2003 when the games switched to the new Giant Center. See STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS.

HILL ROAD GYM, Reading, PA, the home of Reading Central Catholic High School. The gym is only 38 feet wide and 72 feet long. There is not enough room for a three point shot from the corners. (Ideal measurements set by the National Federation are 84 feet by 50 feet).Hill Road Gym still the home court for Central Catholic was built in 1941. Central Catholic played Valley Forge Military Academy on December 5, 1941, two days before Pearl Harbor, in the first game ever played there. Central lost their first eight game in the that gym before defeating St. Matt's of Conshohocken 40-31 for the first win in the Hill Road Gym.  From1983 through1999, the Central Catholic Cardinals have enjoyed a home court advantage as evidenced by their .903 winning percentage home record. Snip Easterly, the coach of the Cardinals said: "You can never replace the the atmosphere and history that the place has."
(Reading Eagle article by Darryl Grumling).

Irwin High School,  Sixth Street. Grades K-12 in one building, everyone walked to school, no cafeteria, bring a bagged lunch or go to Montrose's Store next to school for lunch, no football team, basketball was the only sport, 26 in  senior class. Small classes with outstanding teachers made Irwin High School a home away from home and a one large family atmosphere. "A vacant lot is all that remains today where the pride and center of the town once stood on Sixth Street."  Irwin High School was in existence for only twelve years:1946-1958.  In twelve years, Irwin won 286 games and lost 52!  The "Black Knights" won 10 section titles, 5 WPIAL titles, 5 PIAA Western Regional titles, and 4 PIAA State Class B State Championships!    (Credit: James Weaver, Las Vegas, NV) 

Pittsburgh Tribune story on Irwin High School (thanks to Dave Burman)

 JAFFA MOSQUE, Altoona, PA.   Wilbur Trosch played his college basketball games as a player in the 6,000 theater seat Jaffa Mosque in Altoona from 1957 to 1960. He played AAU basketball and then later became the coach at West Mifflin High School. In an interview once with Bob Kasun of the Altoona Mirror, Coach Trosch said, "the great thing about the Jaffa Mosque was the atmosphere. It was different because the crowd was so close." He remembered that his alma mater, the Red Flash of St. Francis College played their home games there and only lost twice in the four years he played there. Wilbur Trosch led St. Francis to the NIT in 1959, was drafted by the Syracuse Nationals of the NBA, and later played AAU basketball. One of his AAU highlights was playing in Madison Square Garden in a game they lost 83-80 to the 1960 USA Olympic team which included Jerry Lucas, Jerry West, and Oscar Robertson. Trosch tallied 14 points in that game.


 Wilbur Trosch
Altoona fans and Red Flash fans remember the days when Wilbur Trosch, at 6'8" and 240 pounds, nicknamed "the Tree," used his physical stature and an array of moves to control traffic in the lane at the Mosque, a special place in Pennsylvania basketball history past.

 Joe Sager New Castle News -- Once a month, they come back to the town where it all started.   A large group gathers at Jata’s Diner for some breakfast and to catch up on recent events, grandchildren and talk about the memories they made just down Main Street at Wampum High School.
Even though the tiny school closed in 1961, the experiences are still fresh in the minds of its attendees, especially for those who played on Wampum’s storied basketball teams. The Indians were a powerhouse and won three state championships: 1955, ’58, ’60. (Credit: Dave Burman)

Johnsonburg, PA. It opened its doors on October 14, 1920 and still serves the people of the community.  It was built by the New York and Pennsylvania Company (NYPEN), the paper mill. The beautiful original woodwork done in the building is still intact today: the first floor is oak, the second floor is walnut, and the third floor is chestnut.  Beautiful marble stairs lead to the swimming pool area, the original grand piano still sits in the ball room, the building also has a bowling alley and a gym.  In January of 1958, George's Cafe of Johnsonburg defeated the St. Mary's Collegians 70-68 in a game played in the Community Center Gym.  Fran Vilella of George's Cafe led all scorers with 27 points.  Odgen added 14 and Oyler 11 for the winners.
(Credit: Barbara Whitehouse for the Ridgway Record)


JOHNSTOWN WAR MEMORIAL ARENA, Johnstown, PA. It has a seating capacity for basketball of 6,000. It was the home of the Annual Cambria County Invitational Tournament, PCIAA State Championship Games, PIAA State Playoff Games, District 6 Playoff Games, and numerous home court dates for Bishop McCort High School and Johnstown High School.

KENHORST PLAYGROUND In 1968, in Reading as in many other locations around Pennsylvania, the guys in the neighborhood used to shovel off the playground in the winter and play basketball.  At Kenhorst, Jamie Gemmell was know as the "go to man" not necessarily to supply offensive power, but to lead the shoveling brigade.  Other Kenhorst area dedicated outside hoopsters were John Masslar, Barry Henry, John Domczeck, Bill Sidel, Kevin Eberly, Allen Good, and Frank Barbon.  Frank still lives in the Kenhorst area of Reading and is the proprietor of Barbons' Tavern.

KINGSTON HIGH SCHOOL GYM Located between Chester Street and East Hoyt Street in Kingston.  It was first used by Kingston High School and then Wyoming Valley West High School.  It was last used in 1978 for games.  The bleachers at the court level put the screaming fans next to the players and the balcony that overlapped it  seemed to create a claustrobic  effect that allowed 1,000 fans to seem like 5,000.  It was your typical "bandbox" of the 1900's era with fan shaped backboards.  Since the court was five feet shorter in both length and width it encouraged the full court press and throwing the ball in bounds from the side court caused turnovers when passes hit the balcony which jutted out above.  The three point line today would not have existed in the corners of the court.
(Credit: Wilkes Barre Times-Leader, Steve Sembrat, 3/21/04)

LINDEN HALL, Lancaster County. In 1901, the original gymnasium at Linden Hall was in a large stone barn, which also served as the school's laundry facility. Credit: Litiz Daily Record, 1/8/04.

Pottsville, site of numerous playoff games.




District 10 Champions!
"Former home of the Mercer "Mustangs"

MERCER HIGH SCHOOL. The old school was torn down and a new school was built on the edge of town. The old basketball court was on the stage in the auditorium as were many courts in the early years. The back of the old school and the playground area was on East Butler Street. The 1949-50 Mustang team  played on this court and went 21-5 with a trip to the Western Finals. Their 43-36 upset win  over Kane in the previous game was the high water mark of the  season!

Murphy Recreation Center,  4th Street and Shunk Avenue, Philadelphia.  Court legacy: Located in the Italian neighborhood, it was home to some of Philadelphia's elite leagues. Hall of Famers Tom Gola and Paul Arizin were among the top players who competed here.   (USA Today, Roscoe Nance: 2/8/02)

NICK CANTONE'S RESTAURANT, An athlete and a supporter of athletics, Nick Cantone operates one of the truly great" sports bars" in the state of Pennsylvania. Fans from Central Dauphin High School as well as fans in Harrisburg for the many state events always choose "Cantone's" for their delicious Southern Italian menu,  their "savvy" sports atmosphere and their high caliber clientele. Cantone's hosted the Bowie (Md) team when they visited Harrisburg for the 1992 Pennsylvania/ Maryland Holiday Basketball Tournament held at Susquehanna Twp. High School.



OLD CENTRAL GYM, located on Church Street in St. Mary's, truly one of the unique spots playing venues in the state if not the nation.  It has some of the original classrooms of the school on the first floor, the gym still being used on the second floor, and then we get to the the basement where the locker room and showers are on the right side at the bottom of the stairs and on the left side is the CYMA Club with a bowling alley and a bar.
St. Mary's Central High  School played there, the St. Mary's Legion team played there, the St. Mary's City League played their games there, the St. Mary's Collegians played there, and in later years the St. Mary's Cavalier Grade School team still plays there.










Palestra,  This photo was taken at the Palestra when it hosted  the 1956 Class AAA state championship game between Farrell and Palmerton. Farrell won, 57-45, for Coach Ed McCluskey's third of seven state championships.  The Palestra, also known as the Cathedral of College Basketball, is the historic arena located at 215 South 33rd St. in Philadelphia on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.  The building was completed in 1927 and named by Greek professor Dr. William N. Bates after the ancient Greek term palæstra, a rectangular enclosure attached to a gymnasium where athletes would compete in various sports in front of an audience.  (Credit: Wikipedia)

(Photo credit: Jim Raykie, Sharon Herald)

Patte's Sports Bar,  " where real sports fans have been gathering for more than 43 years."  The Wyoming Valley Coaches hold their Pre Season Basketball Meeting here.  "12 televisions that are strategically placed throughout the bar. Patte's has reaffirmed it's position as the Wyoming Valley's sports leader by subscribing to The New York Yankees YES Network, NFL Sunday Ticket, and The NCAA Final 64 Basketball Tournament all on Direct TV sports programming."   We suggest you try their pasta  fagioli soup!! 
(Photo by
65 West Hollenback Avenue, Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania 18705
 570-824-8015--  570-824-8015--   Fax:570-824-5992

Peacock Restaurant in St. Mary's, PA. On April 11, 1974, Harold Wolf (left in photo taken at the Peacock),  the owner of the Peacock Restaurant hosted the pre-game banquet for the players and coaches who would participate in the 3rd Annual Northwestern Senior All-Star Game. He brought in Bob Cousy as the guest speaker. Cousy, the famous Boston Celtic legend, proved to be one of the true gentlemen of the game as well as a legend. He not only spoke at the banquet, but he attended the game and handed out the MVP awards in the post-game ceremonies.
(Photo by Jim Yetzer)

PENN SILL HOTEL, Altoona, PA. The gathering place for basketball fans, coaches, and referees in the 1950's, 60's and 70's as well the sponsor of numerous teams. Their 1955 team featuring Mike Weakland, Jake Weakland, and Henry Lee won the Brookville YMCA Tournament. Their 1967 team featuring Norm VanLier won the1967 Altoona YMCA Tournament defeating the Indiana Legion 101-99 on a shot by John Penwell at the buzzer. Van Lier and Tony Labriola teamed up for 51 points for the winners. VanLier had 49 and Tony had 2. VanLier starred for the Midland H.S. State Championship team and then went on to play for St. Francis College and the Chicago Bulls in the NBA.

Philadelphia.  These coaches had 35 or more years of coaching in the City of Philadelphia.  Bones Schneider (45 years), Mastbaum (1958-02); Ike Woolley (40 years) Central (1928), Northeast (1931-69), Edison (1957); Bud Gardler (35 years) Kenrick (1969-75). (Credit: Home Page )

Pine Street Playground.  Located in Hazleton, in 1969, 1970, and 1971 kids used to play weekend marathon challenge basketball tournaments with other areas of town such as the James Street Playground.  Each team would have about 25 players who would show up in shifts and play basketball around the clock for the weekend, playing day and night.  And unlike the twenty-first century, the kids organized their own games.  (Credit: Robby Marusak)

Riverfront Sports
5 West Olive Plaza, Scranton, PA  18508

A modern sports facility featuring a full soccer field, and three full basketball courts with their own score clocks; a full service snack bar; a top notch facility; also Special Events, Softball, Soccer Training & Leagues, Lil'Kickers Child Development Program, Indoor Soccer, Football, Birthday Parties, Basketball, Baseball.  On Tuesday, October 14, 2008, it was also the site of a McCain-Palin Presidential rally that included the appearance of  Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.


Rockne Hall the official gym for Allentown Central Catholic basketball - it's at 4th and Chew Streets in Allentown.  (Submitted by: Steven J. Max)

Sacred Heart Grade School on Center Street in St. Marys, PA. The school was built in 1923. One of the very first teams to represent the school was the Parish "5" and during the 1928-29 season, they played in the City League with the C.Y.M.A., the Boy's Club and the K of C. Then in 1951 after the baskets had been taken down in the auditorium for a number of years, Fr. Giles, OSB and a number of then eighth grade students made new backboards and installed baskets on the side walls, and basketball was alive again. The students included  Elk  Joe Koch (later Elk County Commissioner),  Ed Catalone (later sales manager at Harrisburg Hoffman Ford), Jim "Slats" Farley (later St. Marys city council member), and Bill Clancy, later a U. S. Military Academy graduate who died in a jeep accident as a member of the U. S. military in Germany. They organized an intramural league which played across the auditorium.

League standings for the 1951-52 season: Knights (9-1), Royals (8-3), Shamrocks (8-3),  Demon Deacons (2-8), Cobblers (2-8), Bluejays (2-8).

 Daily Press
photo credit:"Grist from Old Mills," Sept 5, 2002
 Daily Press article credit: "Reminiscing: The Boys Club,"
                                                  July 18, 2002 (Louie Uhernick)

  In 1957, Fr. Cashmir, OSB hired Bill Gaffey to organize and coach Sacred Heart teams that played other grade schools in the area. The school had a 7th-8th grade team and a 5th-6th grade team.

SEVNTEENTH AND RITTNER STREETS, SOUTH PHILADELPHIA. Jim Phelan grew up on Seventeenth and Rittner Streets in Philadelphia, was a standout guard on the city title team at La Salle High School and then played with the 1953-54 La Salle College team before taking the coaching job at Mt. St. Marys College in 1954. He remained for 49 seasons and collected more than 800 wins putting him in the top four of all time coaches.

SHARON HOYLE TOURNAMENT was held in April each year, and celebrated its 60 th anniversary in1997. All-star teams from the eastern United States played each year. Boston ABC won the 1997 Boy's Title, an 88-57 win over Pittsburgh Metro Index. Numerous college scouts attended and many players gained their scholarship based on their play in this post season tournament.

Shepard Recreation Center (Formerly the Haddington Recreation Center), found at 57th Street and Haverford Avenue in Philadelphia.  Court legacy: This is where Wilt Chamberlain started playing basketball. Other NBA players who played here include Walt Hazzard; Wali Jones; Lewis Lloyd; Ray Scott; Wayne Hightower; and Jackie Moore, the first black to play for the Philadelphia Warriors. Some of the memorable pickup games featured Chamberlain, who was still in college, going against 6-7 Warriors forward Woody Saulsberry, the 1958 NBA Rookie of the Year.  Basketball guru Sonny Hill  said: "When you came to Haddington you knew you were going where the best of the best was going to be there. Spectators were four or five deep just to watch players choose sides. We would choose up teams, and Wilt would be on one team and Woody would be on the other.  (USA Today, Roscoe Nance: 2/8/02)

SMITH HALL. In Slatington, "was once considered the Madison Square Garden of the area!"  (Ken Moyer, coach at Emmaus from 1951-1960)

"it  was demolished several years ago... it was a magnificent venue for area basketball... (Kenneth Koberlein, 12/30/04)

"There are 257 pizza places in Hazleton!"
Senapes Tavern Pitza
835 N Vine St
Hazleton, PA 18201
Hugh McGeehan coached  Hazleton to 45 straight victories and two state championships in 1928  and 1929, but it was in 1933, that Senapes became the mecca for "pitza," beverages, and Hazleton sport fans in the Vine Street area.  There are 257 pizza places in Hazleton today, but no place in town experienced the hoopla  as the patrons did  at Senapes Tavern in 1961 when Hazelton St. Gabriel's defeated their cross town rival Hazelton High School 65-61.  It marked the first time in 30 years that this happened.

(Photo credit: Cecil Pedigue)


STABLER ARENA. At Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA was the site of the Converse/CN8 Hoop Festival. On Feb 1,1998, two undefeated Pennsylvania teams lost to powerful teams from neighboring states. Christ the King of New York City defeated Lebanon H.S.61-55 and St.Patricks of New Jersey defeated Plymouth-Whitemarsh 63-57. The beautiful Stabler Arena, dedicated in 1979, was built with the financial help of Lehigh alumnus, Don Stabler of Harrisburg, one of Pennsylvania's most successful and generous businessmen.

ST. GABRIEL'S HIGH SCHOOL. Once located in Hazleton it no longer stands today. All that's left is a parking area in the spot where volumes of high school basketball tradition once  played out.  In 1971, the last game was played under the banner of St. Gabriel's and then it became part of the more centralized Bishop Hafey High School.  Paul Hoffman was a 2,000 point scorer before going on to St. Bonaventure; Digger Phelps coached St. Gabe's to the state championship  before going on to coach Notre Dame; and Robby Marusak made the last basket ever scored for St. Gabe's while playing with teammates Larry Walko, Brian McBride, Chico Evans, Jerry Fallabel, and Jim Munley. Another piece of Pennsylvania basketball lore and legend tucked away in old yearbooks somewhere.

STIRNA'S RESTAURANT. A restaurant on West Market Street in North Scranton. Off route 81, take exit 190 and N. Main Avenue to find Stirna's. There isn't much parking in the area even though Stirna's does have an off street lot for customers. The inside of the restaurant is decorated with numerous examples of Gerry McNamara memorabilia. The high tide of Syracuse Orange enthusiasm came on Saturday January 17, 2004 when a bus load of Syracuse fans and six car loads drove from Syracuse (N.Y.) to Scranton (PA) to watch the Syracuse at Notre Dame game on television at Stirna's. The Syracuse fans were showing their appreciation for the strong support of Scranton basketball fans who travel by the busload to every Syracuse home game since Gerry McNamara went to play his collegiate basketball in the Carrier Dome.
A "Super Bowl" aura permeated the crowded bar and restaurant, a sign over the bar read, "Stirnacuse Welcomes Syracuse," and the partisan patrons hooted and hollered as Syracuse raced to an 81-70 win. Scranton hometown hero, Gerry McNamara scored 17 points and dished out five neat assists.
For dinner reservations call 1-570-343-5742. Gerry McNamara's parents usually stop by on Friday night for  dinner. (Credit: Jim Gaffey)

Sunbury High School.  Also served as the home court for the Sunbury Mercurys in the old Eastern Basketball League.  The Sunbury District entered into a merger and is now a part of  the Shikellamy School District.

In the 1950's, the gym at the old Sunbury High School underwent a major renovation.  The ceiling in the gym had been supported by pillars which diminished the site lines to the court for fans and since they had a professional basketball team playing there they installed tremendous steel beams to support the ceiling replacing the pillars and thus improving conditions for the fans.  The Sunbury Mercuries defeated the York Victory AC in 1951 for their only Eastern League title.



The Broken Egg Restaurant at 210 Avenida Madera in Siesta Key, Florida. Stop by about 10:00 or 11:00 any morning in the off season and you can chat with the resident authority on college basketball, Dick Vitale.  He usually plays a few rounds of tennis in the morning before stopping at his favorite breakfast spot. His books and autographed basketballs are for sale and he will add a personal touch to the purchase or just talk basketball. The Broken Egg has been a "must see" island tradition on Siesta Key for many years. Established in 1984 as a little four-table cafe, the founding owner, Jim Palermo, created a quality, casual dining experience. This tradition continues with its current owners, Dr. Joe Gaeta and Bob Kirscher. The Broken Egg now seats 105 guests on its patio and in the dining room. 
                       Click HERE to see the Broken Egg Website

Pat Gaffey (left) from the RCN Company in Wilkes Barre (PA) and Bill Gaffey from the Pennsylvania Basketball Website pose with Dick Vitale at a patio table outside the Broken Egg 
at breakfast
May 2005.

Order Dick Vitale's newest book, "Living a Dream: Reflections of 25 Years Sitting in the Best Seat in the House."
Click here to order

or go to the Dick Vitale website HERE

Sports Illustrated in a 2/1/1988 article by Jack  McCallum calls Dick Vitale the "Frog Prince of Basketball" and says that's is nice that "a guy with a balding pate, bulging eyes, a chalk-on-the-blackboard voice and preternatural enthusiasm has made the grade" and made the grade he has, coming into thousands of Pennsylvania homes each basketball season. 
Frank Deford on the NPR Morning Edition on 3/27/96 said "college basketball announcer Dick Vitale is incredibly passionate when calling the games. Not only does he use the word  baby a lot, but uses pet phrases only the initiated understand."
 But the basketball faithful welcome the Vitale style.  In fact old timers call him the Dizzy Dean of college basketball!!

THE OLD CLEARFIELD HIGH SCHOOL, Clearfield, PA. This gymnasium was still being used during the 1954-55 season and had special rules because of some of its architectural limitations. The ceiling was in bounds as was one of the walls at the end of the court under the basket. Teams had plays where they bounced the ball off the wall to another player or to themselves. (by Jack Brown)


In 1930, the newly constructed Annex and Little Palestra opened at Allentown High School and later named William Allen High School (1960), 126 N. 17th Street Allentown PA 1810.

From 1944 to 1947, Allentown High School recorded 61 consecutive victories. In 1973, a new gymnasium and natatorium opened on the site of former Coffield Stadium. And in 1975, the present Library-Science Center opened on the site of former Little Palestra. And thus a piece of Pennsylvania basketball history was buried, but not forgotten by those who attended games at that facility.

THE FOUL LINE, Laporte, Indiana.  Steve Drabyn Jr. established a new National free throw shooting mark with 92.1% by making 397 for 431 over three years. The previous mark was 89.9%by Samuel Jones of St. Mary's (West Virginia) in 1988-91. Who holds the record in Pennsylvania? (USA Today, 3/24/2000)

THE SHERWOOD RECREATION CENTER IN PHILADELPHIA.The Recreation Director always sets the basket height above 10 feet each day to take into consideration the amount of dunks that would take place and ultimately bring the rims back down to 10 feet before the day was over.
(from USA Today ).

THE PITT FIELDHOUSE, Pittsburgh, PA known as Fitzgerald Field House. It hosted numerous high school playoff games as well as the University of Pittsburgh collegiate basketball games. 
In 1967, Bishop Guilfoyle of Altoona defeated Pittsburgh Bishop Canivan in overtime for the PCIAA Western championship.

The University of Pittsburgh started play in a new field house in 2002 and this grand old basketball center passed on into the history of Western Pennsylvania basketball.

THE UNION HALL (KERSEY, PA) basketball court. A pot-belly stove was situated near mid-court to provide heating for the facility, and players had to be careful not to run into it in their trips up and down the court. Fred Hippchen was coach there in the late 1940's.The Kersey High School no longer exists, but became part of the St. Mary's Area jointure.  Elk County Commissioner Ron Beimel remembers playing on this unusual court as a Kersey student. John Aiello, the coach at Kersey after Hippchen, later became the Athletic Director at St. Mary's and then the District 9 representative on the PIAA Board of Control.

THE OLD WICONISCO HIGH SCHOOL, Wiconisco, PA.  This gymnasium had a hollow floor that bounced when the players went up for the center jump. But really unique was the locker room, or so it was called. It was a long narrow hallway with coat hangers on the wall for players to get dressed. It was still being used during the 1964-65 season. This school then became  part of the Williams Valley School District.
(Credit: Les Howerter)

THE OLD WILLIAMSBURG HIGH SCHOOL GYM, Williamsburg, PA. The circles at the foul lines overlapped with the center jump circle. Now this was a small home court. You could rebound at one end, and in four or five dribbles you might be in range to launch a shot at the other end of the court. Willamsburg won the Class C State Championship twice(1958 and 1966), but they also finished second in four seasons (1956, 1957, 1961,and1968). Class C later became Class A as Pennsylvania changed the letters for their classifications.

THE PALESTRA IN PHILADELPHIA. In 1927,"The Palestra" opened. Penn home basketball games are played at the historic Palestra, the most storied gymnasium in the history of college basketball. The Palestra has hosted more games, more visiting teams and more NCAA tournaments that any other facility. Located on the University of Pennsylvania campus, The Palestra was given its name by Greek professor Dr. William N. Bates, who felt the name logical because in ancient Greece, young men would compete in a variety of events in a rectangular enclosure attached to the gymnasium to the view of all who would come --a Palestra. The name was widely accepted by the organizing committee for it fit the specifications: authenticity, dignity, descriptive, and novel.
On January 20, 2001, Charlie Copp (Tulpehocken, PA) who sealed the win from the free throw line, hitting three of four in the final minute to give Penn its fourth win of the season, 82-74 over rival Lafayette. Just the year before Kopp scored 23 to lead Pennsylvania in a 116 to 106 victory over Maryland in the 2000PA/MD Basketball Shootout.

TRANSFER, PA, The school, Transfer High School (Mercer County) closed in 1946, the junior class which then graduated from Hickory High School had only 11 total students. Pete Reimold was the principal. Prior to moving to Hickory High, they played their basketball inside a barn in Transfer, a town named for it's early role on the railroad in this area.  "Traveling" between Morrison's barn and Heile's barn provided "home" and "away" sites to play America's favorite sport, basketball. Hickory High later evolved into Hermitage High School which it is today.

Illustration by Dick Dornish entitled, "Ballet in the Barn"

TWIN COACHES, The Mon Valley Sportswriters Association and broadcasters of the Mon Valley, and the Mon Valley Principals Association were involved in organizing annual banquets and selecting  All-Star teams.   They chose the beautiful Twin Coaches Supper Club on Route 51 in Rostraver Township as their base of operations.  In 1951, the second annual banquet was held there.  The popular nightclub was owned and operated by Tony and Rose Calderone and became the place to host banquets,  political rallies and athletic awards programs. Over the next quarter of a century not only did the Mon Valley Hall of Fame honor great sports figures  there, but the Twin Coaches also hosted  Liberace, Dean Martin, Pearl Bailey, Nat King Cole, The McGuire Sisters and Bobby Vinton just to name a few artists.  Presidents Kennedy and Truman were also guests.  Numerous coaches, players, and fans passed through the Twin Coaches over the years.  A fire on October 1, 1977 ended the colorful history of the once popular supper club.  (Washington Observer-Reporter, Scott Beveridge 1/9/06)

(Left, owner Tony Calderone)

VARDEN GARDEN, the home court for the Western Wayne Wildcats.
                                                                                             (Credit: Honesdale: Wayne Independent)

WESTMINISTER COLLEGE TITAN FIELDHOUSE. Monday March 23, 1971, the Mercer Mustangs lost to the Midland Leopards,54-41. George Green tallied 19 for the winners. Kelly Jones of Mercer had 14. Midland was 25-1 going into the game and Mercer was 24-2. Midland went on to win the Class B State Championship in their next game by defeating Camp Hill 61-52. Midland later slipped off the educational landscape and no longer exists in name as a high school.