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Which were the Ten Most Memorable Games
in Pennsylvania Basketball History?
Listed in chronological order
(Click on the blue, highlighted dates to read the story of those games).
March 1948, York Catholic 44 St. Mary's Central 42, PCIAA
"Class B" State Championship Game
April 1949, Kane 45 Ashley 44, PIAA "Class B" State Championship Game. The Kane Republican, stated that "the score on the scoreboard stands for all time" -and more than fifty years later, the score still stands!
1954, Farrell comes from 20 points down at the half and defeats a Meadville team that featured 6'10 Lloyd Sharrar. He later paired up with Jerry West at West Virginia University, leading the college to a 26-2 record and earning the 1958 No. 1 ranking in the country. In fact, the Mountaineers made consecutive NCAA appearances during his three years starting at center from 1956-58
1955, the Berks County Championship game, both teams West Reading and Kutztown came into the game at 22-0. Kutztown won 48-34. Kutztown ended the season winning the Class B State Championship. West Reading ended the season winning the Class C State Championship. It was the first time in PIAA history that two teams from the same conference won the State Championship. (Reading Eagle)
Jan 5, 1959--Altoona "upsets highly touted Philadelphia Overbrook."
1960 -- Farrell, with Brian Generalovich and Willie Somerset, defeats
Uniontown 59-54 for the WPIAL Class A championship. --The Steelers then cruise to
their second straight PIAA title. (Note: Farrell has since dropped into lower
classifications in the basketball playoffs and are now posed to leave the WPIAL.
It's truly the end of an era!) (Nominated by
NC , Ford City manager in 1962)
March 15, 1961 -- Mount Lebanon upsets Uniontown 59-56 to win the WPIAL Class A championship. (Nominated by Gary Olinger, Hickory, NC , Ford City manager in 1962)
Wilt Chamberlain, near the rim, when he played at Farrell High School on Dec. 28, 1954, and his team was handed its only loss of his senior year by Farrell.
(Photo credit: Jim Raykie, The Sharon Herald)
Farrell-Overbrook Box score HERE
March 13, 1962 -- Uniontown, with Don Yates scoring 22 points, devastates Ford City 50-34 in the WPIAL Class A championship game and goes on to win the state title. It was the last WPIAL Class A final to be played at the Pitt Field House. (Nominated by Gary Olinger, Hickory, NC , Ford City manager in 1962)
1962, "On this night, though, Steve Vacendak was beaten in the final, and some say best, game of his high school career. When it was over, the players from Allentown Central Catholic filed through the Scranton Prep locker room in an understated, but obvious, show of respect. Vacendak scored 40 that night, nearly leading Scranton Prep to a come-from-behind, playoff victory that would surely still be a thing of legend around here. As it stood, Scranton Prep lost 60-58 in quadruple overtime".
Norwin, led by John Naponic, beats Uniontown, which had four
returning starters from its 1962 champions, in the second round of the WPIAL
Class A tournament. (Nominated
NC , Ford City manager in 1962)
Catasauqua beat Steel High 65-62 before
SRO at the
in a 1964 eastern semi-final. Tom Taylor writes "Larry Miller had the
greatest game I have ever personally seen a high school player have with
46 points (19-29, 8-10) and 20 rebounds. Dennis Stewart had 38 points
and 11 rebounds for the Rollers."
|February 7, 1964, MMI defeated West
Hazleton 7-5 in what might be the lowest scoring game in Pennsylvania high
school basketball history. Few people realize that both these teams
had scored over 100 points during the season. In fact West Hazleton scored
over 100 points six times that season.
1964, Uniontown 46 Midland 43. One of the greatest games I saw in my lifetime was the 1964 WPIAL Championship at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena between Midland and Uniontown. It was a defensive game won by Uniontown 46-43 but if Midland center, Simmie Hill, had not been injured in the third quarter and could not play the rest of the game, Midland would have won the game. Uniontown coach, Abe Everhart, said that Uniontown was lucky to win. Both teams were 24-0 coming into the game and Uniontown went on to win the PIAA Championship. Midland won it all the following year. (Submitted by James Weaver)
Mar 20 1965, State Class B Finals. Northern Cambria (District 6) 78 Montrose (District 2) 69. The win snapped the Montrose 52 game win streak, and spoiled their quest for back to back state titles. It was Northern Cambria's first state championship. They finished the season at 26-1, boosting a two year record to 55-2. (Nominated by Bud Tangert, Lititz)
Mar.11 1966, Conestoga Valley 50 Chambersburg 47. C.V. sub Bob Swavely scored four points in five seconds to tie game in regulation. C.V. prevailed in double overtime to advance in state Class A playoffs. (Nominated by Bud Tangert, Lititz)
March 14, 1967, Altoona Guilfoyle defeats Pittsburgh Canivan 67-66 in a come from behind overtime upset in the PCIAA "Class A" Western Finals at the Pitt Field House.
1968, The Philadelphia Catholic playoff game between Wyncote Bishop McDevitt and Philadelphia North Catholic was one of the most memorable games in USA history. The game was played at the legendary Palestra on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. The day of the game, the varsity players from North Catholic skipped morning mass and went out to the local diner. Their coach, Jack Friel suspended the varsity players for the game, and took the junior varsity down to the Palestra instead. As things turned out, the junior varsity players from North Catholic easily beat the Bishop McDevitt varsity in an amazing upset 77-60. Their coach, Jack Friel became a national hero after this game. He did what was right and ended up winning. The North junior varsity had not played for eight days and only split with the McDevitt's JVs during the regular season. The varsity was reinstated for the Catholic league semi-finals, but lost 51-49 to Springfield Cardinal O'Hara. (Chuck Langerman)
Two games come to mind. The Ringold team that featured Joe Montana and Mel Boyd , I believe that was the Pa State Championship game. Also the United States All Stars vs the Pa. All Stars in 1974 at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh,where Brad Davis puts on a dribbling show in the last few minutes only to be fouled in the last couple seconds, and misses both free throws to give the ball back to the U.S. All Stars,where Mosses Malone DUNKS the ball and beats the P.A. All Stars by one. I was wondering if you could send me more information on these two games. You have listed on your wed site, "memorable games", but I did not see these two on the list and would just like more information on them.
Thank you, Bill Naughton (2/28/09)
1977 AAA state semi’s at Hershey
|1968, Game goes three overtimes and Laurel Highlands behind Will
Robinson (later a big star at WVU) beats previously undefeated Cheltenham
(coached by Paul Westhead). Pittsburgh Civic Arena - believe the
first OT championship game, March 1968. Playmaker and defensive star Rich Raden
fouled out with minutes to go in regulation. He had held Robinson well below his
average (maybe 26 ppg. or so) but when Raden left no one could stop Robinson
(for balance of reg. and 3 OT's). Cheltenham went into game undefeated at 26 -
0. Dismantled Chester, Steelton Highspire and Allentown Dieruff.
(Contribution credit: Gary Brown).
March 1969 , Nanticoke led Steelton by 16 points at the half, but somehow the referees detected 23 walking violations against Nanticoke in the second half and the tide turned. Did you ever hear of 23 walking violations in one half against one team?
I have to add the William Allen Canaries/Coatesville Red Raiders Eastern State Championship game from 1979 played in Reading PA. Without starting point guard John Carter (103 temperature at game time), William Allen defeated powerhouse Coatesville twice in the last 10 seconds on nearly identical shots by forward Mitch Schmidt. Tied at 66 and with just 10 seconds left in this seesaw game that saw neither team lead by more than six points, Allen ran a play freeing up Schmidt for a running right handed semi hook shot that went in, however, the referee on the Allen side noticed Terry Heffner (Carter's replacement) had called time out and wiped out the bucket. Confusion ran wild as no one know what happened. As the referees sorted thing out it appeared Coatesville had somehow got the ball and their fans went nuts. Moments later, though the ref was handing the ball to Allen out of bounds. Allen ran a similar play freeing, once again, Schmidt, who took nearly the same shot from the same spot on the floor and with 2 seconds left it went in. The Allen side erupted but the game was not over. Coatesville called time out. They took the ball out under Allen's basket and ran a pick in which Heffner ran over the Coatesville player but no call was made. The ball was thrown to half court and touched last by an Allen player leaving 1 second and the ball out of bounds at half court. Coatesville then ran an allyoop but the pass was knocked away and Allen won 68-66.
I know this was one of the greatest games ever because I'm John Carter.
September 10, 1972, the Munich Olympics, Russia 51 the United States 50 and the first loss in the history of the Olympics for the United States. The U.S. silver medals have never been claimed to date!
Cheltenham Vs. Laurel Highlands Pa. State Final 1968
Pittsburgh Civic Arena - believe the first OT championship game, March 1968. Playmaker and defensive star Rich Raden fouled out with minutes to go in regulation. He had held Robinson well below his average (maybe 26 ppg. or so) but when Raden left no one could stop Robinson (for balance of reg. and 3 OT's). Chelt. went into game undefeated at 26 - 0. Dismantled Chester, Steelton Highspire and Allentown Dieruff.
Craig Littlpage was 1st team all
state for Chelt and was a junior for this team. He later played for some
great Univ. of Penn teams. Chuck Shectman received some all state
recognition and followed Westhead to St. Joseph's - never made the varsity
there. Raden played for Marietta of Ohio and Billy Haff played for
Fairfield. I did not play for that team but was a member of the class of
1973, Pa. State Championship Game. General Braddock vs. Reading, Farm Show Arena Harrisburg. March 24 1973. Close game all the way, comes down to the last minute, GB and Reading tied 62 to 62, Reading has the ball the last thirty seconds, with about 7 seconds left in the game Reading tires to get a bounce pass to their star player, Stu Jackson, GB's super sub Darryl Washington steals the entry pass, streaks down court for the lay up before the buzzer, he is fouled, two shots, no time left on the clock. Washington steps to the line, 6,000 fans screaming, Washington shoots the first shot, ball hits the front of the rim, hits the back of the rim and falls off to the left. His second shot hits nothing but net, General Braddock are state champs 63 to 62. Stu Jackson of Reading scored 36 points, his 16 field goals was a new record. General Braddock was the first team not to win the WPIAL, but won the state championship.The coach of General Braddock, Paul Birch, won his second state title, although they were 34 years apart. His first title came in 1939 when he coached Homestead High School, his alma mater. Homestead defeated Lower Marion 29-24. (Nominated by richard <email@example.com)
1974, In one of the most memorable city-series games, unbeaten Dieruff uses a technical foul on Allen coach Milo Sewards to hold off the Canaries 67-62. With Dieruff leading 62-60 with 1:30 left, referees, at the urging of Huskies coach Dick Schmidt, give Sewards the technical for being off the bench. Sewards, who had been spared a similar technical earlier when Schmidt told officials that Sewards was out of his seat in order to look around fans returning to their seats at halftime, maintains he had risen to replace Doug Snyder, who had just been called for his fifth foul. The win leaves Dieruff with a 15-0 record and drops Allen to 11-4. (Allentown Morning Call)
Dec 30, 1976- Johnstown War Memorial Invitational
West Philly 69 Brashear(dist.8) 65. Not only was the game for state bragging rights, both teams entered the game nationally ranked: West Philly #1, Brashear #3. The game featured two All Americans. M.V.P. Gene Banks' 32 pts, 19 rebs, and 5 assists led the winners. Sam Clancy finished with 14 pts, 16 rebs for Brashear.
(Nominated by Bud Tangert, Lititz)
March 20,1977, Steel-High 87 Nanticoke 83. Greg Manning (57 pts.) outdueled Ken Casey (43 pts) to lead Rollers to state AAA second round win. Manning, who at one time hit on 14 straight shots, finished an incredible 25 for 28 from the floor and 7 for 8 from the line to set a new Farm Show arena single game record. Steelton beat Allentown in the first round and then beat Shamokin in the third round and then Reading in the Eastern Final. They played Reading four times that year. (Updates here courtesy Four Chapman) (Original nomination by Bud Tangert, Lititz)
1978, Lebanon defeats Steelton at the Hersheypark Arena after Lebanon star Sam Bowie is banished from the game at half time under the two technical foul rule, both for hanging on the rim after dunking. They was done in the (pre-breakaway rim days). During halftime, most every person in attendance was wagering that Steelton would wipe Lebanon out in the second half without Bowie. Lebanon Coach Chick Hess surprised everyone by using a "four corner" control game the entire second half and defeating Steelton in handy fashion. The lineups for that evening can be found HERE
Mar 17 1978- West Philly 67 Roman Catholic 64. Game featured two
Parade Magazine first team All Americans. Clarence Tillman's 31
pts led West Philly to fourth consecutive City title. Reggie Jackson had 24
pts, 11 rebs for Roman. One week earlier, West Philly won their fifth
consecutive Public League title with a 68-56 win over Bartram.
(Nominated by Bud Tangert, Lititz)
Feb 21 1978- Overbrook 62 W.Phila. 61. Broke West Philly's 68 game win streak. Carlton Willis 25 pts, 11 rebs, and playmaker Rickey Tucker led the winners. West Philly had won 104 of 106 games over four years, 121 of 128 over five. (Nominated by Bud Tangert, Lititz)
1978, The WPIAL semi-final upset of undefeated Midland High School (who were streaking toward their fifth straight WPIAL Championship) by Slippery Rock High School on a last second twisting lay up by Jimmy McConnell. The game was played at New Castle High. The Rockets won 58-57. Slippery Rock was led by 6’10 sophomore Steve Beatty (U. of Pittsburgh) and the Leopards were led by senior Roosevelt Kirby (U. of Pittsburgh).
January 15, 1979, Eastern York nipped York Surburban 107 to 106 in double overtime and Ken Fritchman of Eastern York set a YCIAA record by scoring 66 points in the game. From a spectator who saw the game, "I had been going to games since 1971 and saw a lot of great games, but no game has ever come close to that one."
March 18, 1980, Bishop Hannan took a three overtime win from Northwestern 66-59. The score was 45-45 at the end of regulation time, 47-47 at the end of the first overtime, 55-55 at the end of the second overtime, but Hannon took 16 trips to the foul line in the third overtime to take home a 66-59 win in the PIAA Class A quarterfinal game played in Wilkes Barre. Hannan lost in the next game to Darby Twp. Darby lost the state title game to East Brady.
1981, Unranked St. Joseph's eliminates No.1 DePaul, with Terry Cummings and Mark Aguirre, with a 49-48 win in the second round of the 1981 tourney. St. Joseph's used a slow down offense to pull the upset. But now days, the 45 second clock has taken strategy out of the game in favor high octane, slam dunk, made for television hoops replacing "real" college basketball.
1981-82, Prior to the three point line in high school
basketball during the post-season PIAA playoffs: New
Castle defeated Penn Hills 101 to 95. Jim Brown and
Barry Weitzel were in the lineup for New Castle while
Chris Seneca, Marc Knight, Dow Misenhalter played for Penn Hills.
(Nominated by Aaron Tipton, firstname.lastname@example.org)
2/3/82, The unbeaten Southern Columbia girls recorded a 39-38 win over Bloomsburg. Bloomsburg coach Tony Giovino called it, "the most exciting basketball game ever played in this league." Lisa Essig and Nan Martin led the winners while Karen Wordrop and Kathy Staib led the losers. Bloomsburg had the last shot with twelve seconds to go, but the eight footer bounced off the rim and Southern Columbia survived! (Bloomsburg Morning Press)
1985, Villanova wins the NCAA title. The favorite in Lexington, Ky., Georgetown had lost only twice in 36 games by a total of three points. It was the Hoyas' third Final Four appearance in the career of consensus All-American Patrick Ewing, a 7-foot senior center. "Georgetown is as good a team as has ever been assembled," Villanova coach Rollie Massimino said on the eve of the semifinals, "and that's only because of Patrick. He's the best to ever play college basketball. But Villanova pulled the upset. Villanova entered the tourney with 10 losses and had never been ranked during the season.
1986-87, Windber advances to the State Championship. The Ramblers next took a dramatic 45-44 win over District 10 Girard in the Western Final. Estimates had 1,400 blue-and-white clad Windber fans packed into Westminster College gym. Paul Romanchock had 19 points and took command of the game. But when Girard sagged four defenders around the big man, Windber’s Tracy Horner made a huge shot at the most opportune moment.
“Girard certainly was one of the greatest basketball games I’ve ever seen from our standpoint,” Romanchock said. “It was the best game I ever played in. They were No. 1 in the state. We were No. 2. Everyone believed we were going to find a way to win.
Twenty seasons later, the 1987 PIAA Class AA runner-up Ramblers were honored during the Windber Rotary Holiday Basketball Classic. (Story by MIKE MASTOVICH, The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, 12/24/06) full story found HERE
1987-88, Milton, the Black Panthers went 30-3, the big game being a "Hoosiers"-like buzzer-beating win over Holy Ghost Prep in the Class AAA state semifinals.
April 1993, the Carbondale Area Chargers(29-0) and George Jr. Republic Tigers(29-0) squared off for the AA state title in front of a sold out Hersheypark Arena crowd.
Feb 3, 1998, the highest scoring game in Pennsylvania high school basketball history; in the city of Philadelphia Washington H. S. defeated West Philadelphia H.S. 130-127 in four overtimes for a total of 257 combined points. Shannon Bussey led Washington with 44 points while Derrick Johnson led West Philly with 34 points. However, those 257 points only ranked ninth on the all-time list according to the National Federation of State High School Associations Record Book. The highest scoring game in high school history took place in Florida in 1995 when Riverview defeated Bradenton148-142 for a combined 290 points.
1999, Annville-Cleona (District 3 ) Quaker Valley (District 7) 69-57(2 OT) PIAA Class AA State Championship Game- Ed Drenning said it was "one of the all-time greatest games of the state tournament ever played at Hersheypark Arena!" Mercantile history in Lebanon County HERE
2003, Lancaster Catholic vs Harriton (eastern state semi-final) Greg Testa slips, keeps his dribble, eludes 4 defenders and somehow passes to Keith Keller to tie the game with 0.01 seconds left in regulation. (Nominated by Adolph Testa, Lititz, PA" -email@example.com)
2003-2004, Do you like it fast or slow? How about the "controversial" 33-29 four-overtime game between Central Catholic and Whitehall as reported in the Allentown Morning Call or do you prefer the sensational 98-90 double overtime Bishop Hannon win over Bishop O'Hara in a game Scranton Times sportswriters tab as "the best game of the season." Jayme Gillette (Bishop O'Hara) with 45 points scored more than either team in the Central Catholic-Whitehall game.
March 2004, Allentown Central Catholic girls win their fourth straight state championship game to tie the records held by the Carlisle boys and the Kennedy Christian boys who each have four straight.
Saturday August 21, 2004, Lithuania defeats the U.S. Olympic team. Sarunas Jasikevicius scored 28 points for Lithuania to help defeat the USA. Sarunas played for Solanco High School in Lancaster County in Pennsylvania. He then was chosen to play for Pennsylvania in the Pennsylyvania vs Maryland series. University of Maryland Coach Gary Williams was in attendance at that all-star game and signed Jasikevicius.
(Photo: Sarunas Jasikevicius in 1994 at Solanco
H. S. )
February 16, 2005. Warwick vs McCaskey, District 3 Playoffs, First round: Warwick the 14th seed who lost to McCaskey by 40 just one and a half weeks before the playoffs stuns the Red Tornado 53-52. Chris Fairbanks hits game winning shot with 1.7 seconds left (Fairbanks went on to play at Elizabethtown College. The biggest upset in the District ! McCaskey was the 3 seed. (Nomination by Anthony D'Imperio)
2005. As a junior, Lance Jeter helped Beaver Falls win WPIAL and PIAA basketball championships. His performance in the 2005 WPIAL Class AA title game against Aliquippa will live in Western Pennsylvania basketball lore. He scored 37 points and banked in a 30-foot shot at the buzzer in the third overtime to give Beaver Falls a 79-78 victory against Aliquippa. Jeter also made a long 3-pointer at the end of regulation. A few weeks later, he beat Aliquippa with two free throws and a steal in the PIAA semifinals. Jeter averaged 20.2 points a game his senior year and finished his career with 2,243 points, 13th-best in WPIAL history. In his four years as a starter, Beaver Falls was 102-19. (Mike White, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 02, 2006)
March 2007. This
has to be one of the greatest games in PA Girls Basketball History. Yes,
there was 1/2 of a second left on the clock in the 4th quarter-- Lacey, Marissa
and Monica each had 4 fouls going into OT. This game was something else.
Definitely, an ESPN Instant Classic. (Nomination by Christine Lesie)
Altoona Mirror article HERE
DuBois Central Catholic erases an 18 point
third quarter deficit and defeats Kennedy Catholic in the 2007 PIAA Western
Class A Finals in Clarion. Story found
(Nomination by Mike Nesbit)
December 2007, How does a team that trailed by six points with four seconds remaining in the game end up winning by five points without going into overtime? Story HERE From a Pottsville Republican article.
January 19th 2008, the Mahanoy Area JV team with an overall record of 6-8 came in to a tough game with the 13-1 Marian Colts. The Colts had beaten the Bears by 22 points the month earlier on December 11th 2007. The Colts built an early lead but the Bears stuck with them and went into halftime with a 26-20 defecit. During the 3rd quarter the bears stuck with the Colts the whole way. But, the Colts started to pull away buildin an 18 point lead with only 5 minutes left in the game. After a Golden Bear timeout the bears picked up the pressure and "clawed" their way back. Eric Moucheron hooked up with Francis Sengler 3 times in a row on fast break lay-ups and the 4th time it was for an and 1. The Colts missed a foul shot and the Bears took it down the floor and drew a Marian foul. Moucheron hooked up with Mike Backo on the inbounds pass for and and 1 which put the defecit to 6. Mahanoy fouled and Moucheron connected on a 3 to make it a 3 point game. Sengler stole the ball and took it the length of the floor to put the Bears within 1 point of victory. Marian Threw the ball away and again Sengler took it the length of the floor but got fouled hard. The Bears were forced to take Sengler out of the game and bring in Matt Rupert to shoot a 2 shot foul with 1:02 left. Rupert missed the first and made the second to tie it up at 49. Marian brought the ball up the court but Jimmy Wagner forced a five second violation and the bears got the ball with 9.8 seconds left. A pass to Josh Kimmel was fumbled out of bounds and the game went to overtime. In OT Moucheron put in a runner to put the Bears up by 2. Marian then hit a 3 to mah it a 52-51 game. Moucheron hit Jimmy Wagner with a pass and Wagner connected on a 3 oh his own to put the Bears up 54-52. After a steal by Moucheron, Marian fouled him and he connected on both foul shots to put the Bears up by 6. The Colts then missed 2 shots on 2 posessions and the Bears turned the missed shots into points at the other end with Jimmy Wagner going 2-4 from the line in the last minute of OT. Marian missed another shot as time expired and the Bears schocked the Colts with a 58-52 victory. (Credit: Eric Mush firstname.lastname@example.org)
"it was truly amazing. If I
didn't see it myself I may not have believed it. There were actually only 3
minutes remaining and still down 14, when she scored 20 of her 23 4th quarter
She is now enrolled and will play at Geneva for Ron Galbreath this winter.
Which game can you remember? And why should we list it as a memorable
game? Send us your story! Send to
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(Credits: Todd Stanford, Sunbury Daily Item, Ray Saul, Hazelton Standard Speaker, Dennis King, Paul Hendrickson, Washington Post, Scranton Times Tribune, Gary Olinger (Hickory, NC), bud tangert, lititz)