PITTSFIELD — On Sunday at Berkshire Hills Country Club, the Berkshire County Girls Basketball Hall of Fame held its induction ceremony.
There were 10 inductees presented, eight girls basketball standouts, a coach and a contributor. Among them there were numerous Berkshire County and Western Massachusetts championships, and even a national title, in addition to countless stories.
Photos: Berkshire County Girls Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony
On Sunday afternoon at Berkshire Hills Country Club, the Berkshire County Girls Basketball Hall of Fame inducted its Class of 2020.
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"The best part about being a part of a team for me was always the experiences," wrote inductee Jen Maloney Roosa. "I loved playing with my teammates in every game, but the thing I remember the most is the friendships I made and the camaraderie... Most of all I cherish the friendships that were made among teammates and opponents. Many of those friendships have lasted decades."
Here are the members of the Class of 2020.
Sharon Conway Mathieu
Conway is a 1990 graduate of Monument Mountain, who played four years on scholarship at Bentley University.
While with the Spartans under David Kinne, Conway was a part of a state finalist and named to the Berkshire County All-Star team.
At Bentley, Conway was a part of Division II Final Four teams under coach Barbara Stevens in 1991, '92 and '93.
"High school memories were full of good times with teammates, camaraderie and friendship," wrote Conway. "It was an honor and priviledge to play under my coach Barbara Stevens, who guided me and my teammates to always be the best we coudl be and do so with grace and professionalism."
Conway is an eighth-grade teacher at Milton Academy and a 2019 recipient of the Talbot Baker Award. She and her family have spent 15 years with the foundation Caritas International, which focuses on education and sustainability in Haiti. She was introduced by Virginia and Charles Conway, whom she noted were in the stands at every high school game and 95 percent of her college games.
Mary Ann Lombardi
Lombardi is a 1979 graduate of Wahconah, where she played basketball under Jim Duquette, when the Warriors won a Western Mass. title in '79. Lombardi was named tournament MVP.. Lombardi was an All-Berkshire performer in basketball, soccer and softball and served as captain for all three teams in her senior year.
She was a member of the National Honor Society, and served as president in '79. She also received a Good Citizen Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution and sportsmanship awards from officials in soccer and softball.
After high school, Lombardi played four years of varsity softball at the University of Massachusetts, and one year of varsity soccer.
LaChance is a 1985 graduate of Lenox, where she played basketball under coach Lenny Miller.
As a senior, LaChance led Berkshire County in scoring with 15.5 points per game, as the Millionaires reached the Western Mass finals. She was named the All-Berkshire and All-Western Mass. starting center. In her high school career, she was a part of three South Division titles, three Western Mass. championships and a 67-game winning streak.
"In seventh grade summer camp, started with Lenox High boys coach Fred LaFave, learning the fundamentals of basketball," LaChance wrote of her best memories. "COach Len Miller pushing me further than I thought I could ever go. Teaching me about teamwork, devotion and hard work."
LaChance played at Westfield State after high school, and helped the Owls win the 1986 Division III National Championship. She had 18 points in a the title game against Salem State. LaChance was a two-year captain and left school with 810 career points, 544 rebounds, and the still-standing school record with 163 blocked shots.
LaChance has spent 30 years working in the veterinary field, the last 20 of which with South Street Veterinary Services.
Racette is a 2013 graduate of Drury, where she played basketball under coach John Franzoni.
With the Blue Devils, she was a part of two South Division champions, and a Western Mass. finalist in 2013. Racette was a two-time MVP at the Gene Wein Tournament, and All-Transcript MVP in 2012 and 2013. She also earned the MIAA's sportsmanship award and the Oswald Tower sportsmanship award. She was the Female Athlete of the Year as a senior.
Racette later won a NEWMAC championship while playing at Springfield College
Racette has a doctorate in physical therapy, and works as a physical therapist at Berkshire Medical Center.
Christine (C.C) Coughlan Burke
Coughlan is a 1988 graduate of Pittsfield High, where she played four years of varsity basketball under coaches Tom Bligh, Lenny Miller and Tony Simonelli.
The Generals made four straight Western Mass. Division I finals with Coughlan at guard, winning the sectional and reaching the state title game her junior year. Her teammates referred to her as their defensive stopper and top distributor on offense. Her infectious personality is what was credited with keeping PHS together during those long playoff runs.
After high school, Coughlan played two years of basketball at Westfield State, before an injury ended her career. She was consistently among the scoring and assist leaders in MASCAC, and was named Most Outstanding Contributor in 1990. In '92, she was a recipient of the Who's Who Among American Universities and Colleges for student leaders in academic and extracurricular activities.
Coughlan spent 25 years as vice president of finance and administration for Berkshire Housing Services Inc. and Berkshire Housing Development Corporation.
Gleason is a 1985 graduate of Saint Joseph's, where she played basketball under coaches Leslie Walton and Peg Downing.
Gleason had a senior year to remember, as the Crusaders knocked off Lenox in overtime of the Western Mass. championship game at the Springfield Civic Center, behind a tournament MVP performance by their forward captain. In '85, Gleason was also named the Notre Dame Club of Berkshire County's Scholar Athlete of the Year. St. Joe won the South Division title that same year. In 2012, she was inducted to the St. Joseph's Basketball Hall of Fame.
After high school, Gleason played four years of basketball and softball at Elms College. She is a part of the 1,000-point club at the school, having breached the milestone as a junior in 1988. While earning several tournament MVPs and All-Tournament team nominations, Gleason helped Elms to its first ever berth in the MAIAW tournament in 1988. She finished her career with 1,268 points, and is a 2006 inductee of the Elms College Athletic Hall of Fame.
Gleason spent 31 years coaching at the CYC, earning the Father Cashin Award as employee of the year in the '90s. She's an adoptive parent of five children.
Jen Maloney Roosa
Maloney is a 1993 graduate of Pittsfield High, where she played basketball under coach Simonelli.
She was All-Berkshire in both '91 and '92 in all three of her sports: basketball, soccer and track and field. She earned All-Western Mass. nods in soccer and track, and in her senior season was the county MVP in soccer.
Soccer was where she traveled after graduation, playing at MCLA and being named to All-MASCAC teams in 1993, '94 and '95. In '93 she was an NSCAA All-American and All-New England. In 2014, she was inducted into the MCLA Athletic Hall of Fame.
Maloney has since been an eighth-grade math teacher in Lee, where she has also coached the Lee girls soccer team as a varsity assistant since 2012. She also coaches youth basketball, soccer and baseball in Lee.
Maloney was introduced at the ceremony by her father. She wrote, "The thing I remember the most is the amazing support of my family. My parents have always been my biggest fans."
Florence T. Solera Allessio
Solera was born on New Year's Eve in 1914, and lived until 2019 to the age of 104. Her long life and athletic accomplishments were detailed at the ceremony by her son, Lawrence Allessio.
According to Allessio, his mother was a fantastic athlete while at Pittsfield High, where she graduated in 1935. While her high school coach pushed for her to play basketball in college, financial constraints forced her to go to work to help support her family. Solera's athletic career didn't end there, though, as she played for the Pittsfield General Electric Plastics women's basketball team while working for GE from 1936-1940. The team played others from Berkshire County, Western Massachusetts and Eastern New York, winning multiple championships.
Solera Allessio was also a big bowler and skier. She cross-country skied into her 80s.
Estes was inducted as a coach, after a long career helming basketball teams at North Adams State College, Drury and McCann Tech high schools, starting in 1977.
He is currently the cross-country coach at McCann, and was a longtime teacher at Clarksburg School.
According to presenter John Franzoni, "He's just a quality person who didn't want to single out career highlights to avoid missing any and having a player feel slighted, but I can tell you that I always enjoyed watching coach run a practice during my time coaching at McCann because he focused extremely well on helping his players improve their individual skills, and his teams played well together."
Estes could not make the ceremony.
Rose Marie Ladley
Ladley was inducted as a contributor, after a lifetime around the sport of basketball while married to the late coach Ed Ladley.
The two met while students at Niagara University, where Ed Ladley played basketball. They entered the Air Force after college. He later was a 42-year head coach at Wahconah. Rose Marie and Ed had eight children, five of whom played college basketball. Four of her daughters were on hand Sunday to present her with the induction.
"After attending many games and being team mother of many teams, including AAU and also president of the booster clubs for many seasons, I felt I knew what basketball — the game — consisted of," wrote Rose Marie Ladley.
She started the girls basketball summer league at Marchisio Park in 1993, which still runs today inside the gym of Morningside Community School.