Sunday March 17, 2013

Here's a piece of information I can imagine many of you didn't know: The first year high school basketball in Berkshire County used the 1-and-1 free throw situation was the 1952-53 season.

The reason I bring it up is it came into play during one of three showdowns between Pittsfield and Lee that season. It was on this morning in 1953 that the Lee boys beat Pittsfield 49-45 to win the school's first Berkshire County championship.

This game was brought to my attention by Lee's Ed Thomas, who played in that game. He was one member of "Wildcat Nation" who was in Worcester on Saturday morning, watching the Lee girls lose in the Division III state final.

Sixty years ago, the Wildcat boys of that era had better fortune.

It was the rubber game between the schools, as the teams had split victories on their respective home courts.

There were some of the greatest names in Berkshire County sports on the court that day. Art Fox coached Pittsfield and John Consolati coached Lee. Larry Bossidy scored 19 points for the Generals, while Chuck Killackey had 11 points and Bruce Stevenson added 10 for the Wildcats.

Pittsfield fought back from a 13-point deficit in the game, but came up short.

Getting back to the one-and-one, I never would have known that was a new part of the game that year.

The legendary Roger O'Gara wrote that the "new one-and-one foul rule didn't drag the action as much as many feared it would. The game was played in one hour, 24 minutes.


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Of course, that's all changed now. The last two minutes of a game can take 10 to 15 minutes to get done.

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They are falling fast and furiously. I'm referring to college basketball coaches who have either resigned or been fired since the regular season or postseason tournaments ended this week.

Siena, Marist, Drake and Northwestern are just four of the schools whose coaches won't be returning next year.

The Siena job looks particularly attractive to a up-and-coming coach. Will Siena go with a head coach from another school or will it look to pluck a top assistant from a major program?

Some of the names mentioned are familiar ones -- Bucknell's Dave Paulsen, the former Williams College coach, or Northeastern head coach Bill Coen.

Depending on the future plans of Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, Siena should be taking a serious look at Orange assistant Mike Hopkins.

Hopkins is the coach-in-waiting for when Boeheim retires. But if Boeheim isn't leaving any time soon, maybe Hopkins should run his own program for a couple of years before taking over the Orange.

Otherwise, athletic director John D'Argenio should be targeting Paulsen. He's been successful at every head coaching stop he's had -- even winning a national championship at Williams.

He had a tough act to follow when Harry Sheehy moved up to the athletic director's spot, and succeeded. He had a tough act to follow at Bucknell when Pat Flannery stepped down after beating Kansas in the NCAA Tournament. Paulsen has succeeded there too.

To reach Howard Herman:
hherman@berkshireeagle.com,
(413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.