Upcoming tourney tips off 70 years of memorable moments

 

Fred Olson (left) of the Bangor Auditorium staff, Alton "Bump" Hadley, tourney floor director, and Woody Dumphy, chairman of the tourney committee, ponder the problem of the Auditorium's leaky roof during the Eastern B final between Dexter and Rockland on Feb. 21, 1986. The game was played despite the leak and ended at 12:18 a.m. when Dexter defeated Rockland in five overtimes. (BDN File)

Fred Olson (left) of the Bangor Auditorium staff, Alton “Bump” Hadley, tourney floor director, and Woody Dunphy, chairman of the tourney committee, ponder the problem of the Auditorium’s leaky roof during the Eastern B final between Dexter and Rockland on Feb. 21, 1986. The game was played despite the leak and ended at 12:18 a.m. when Dexter defeated Rockland in five overtimes. (BDN File)

With the high school basketball tourneys tipping off this week, it has been a time to reflect on 70 years of tourney memories as a fan, player, coach and official.

In 1947, I was 10 and watched the Bangor Rams under coach Fred Pinkham win the Eastern Maine L title, beating Stearns 51-34 at the University of Maine’s famous Memorial Gym, the Pit.

The Rams beat Morse of Bath 60-44 to win the Class L state title, then lost to Durfee High School of Fall River, Massachusetts, in the New England tourney, 52-39.

It was the first year I followed basketball and I attended all of Bangor High’s home games at the old Bangor Auditorium.

Here are some other memorable dates that stand out for me.

– 1948: Coach Red Barry’s first Bangor team wins the Eastern Maine tourney at UMaine, beating Waterville in the final 62-47, then loses to Cheverus in the state game 35-34.

– 1955: I played on Bangor High’s Class L state championship team and we went on to place third in the New England tourney, beating Hillhouse of New Haven, Connecticut, 66-60 in the consolation game at the old Boston Garden. We finished with a 21-2 record and Danny Drinon was named first team All-New England after scoring 72 points in the tourney.

– 1955: I accomplished an unusual feat that I believe still stands as a tourney record for all classes as I scored the first two points in each of Bangor’s three tourney games.

– 1956: Bangor wins the first Eastern Maine L championship in the new Bangor Auditorium, beating Stearns 71-54, but lost to Morse in the state final 52-33.

– 1956: Many tourney greats are on the first Bangor Daily News All-Maine team.

– 1959: Bangor loses in the New England finals to Hillhouse 59-41. Bangor had upset John Bapst in the Eastern L final 61-54 and beat Lewiston in the state final 65-64 after starting out the season 0-4.

– 1961: The Maine Principals’ Association adopts four classes: LL, L, M and S. The format changes from three days to a week and the LL tourney doesn’t begin until the weekend after the L, M and S Eastern finals.

– 1963: Morse beats Stearns in the LL state final, but Stearns then beats Morse in the New England tourney to win a five-state team title as Connecticut teams didn’t participate in the last year the tourney was held at Boston Garden.

– 1963: Orono loses to Gorham by one point on a foul shot with one second left in the Class L state final.

– 1967-68: Our Orono team goes 21-1 and wins the Class L state title.

– 1969: Caribou’s Mike Thurston’s shot from beyond half-court beats Westbrook in the Class LL state at the Bangor Auditorium. I didn’t witness this because I was coaching Orono in the Class L state final at Colby College where we beat York 64-45 and finished 22-0.

– 1970: Longtime Stearns coach George Wentworth guides his team to its fourth Class LL state title.

– 1970-71: The MPA changes the names of the classes to A, B, C and D.

– 1971: Eighth-seeded Brewer upsets my No. 1 Bangor team in the Class A quarterfinals after we had beaten them twice in the regular season.

– 1972: My eighth-seeded Bangor team knocks off unbeaten and No. 1 Houlton after we lost to them twice during the regular season.

– 1977: Bangor is seeded seventh and we upset No. 2 Mt. Blue in the quarterfinals but lose to No. 3 Nokomis on a very odd, game-ending call in the semifinals.

– 1986: Dexter beats Rockland in the fifth overtime in the Eastern Maine B final in a game delayed by the Auditorium’s leaky roof and doesn’t end until 12:18 a.m.

– 1986:  Waterville beats Lawrence by over 50 points in a regular-season game, but two weeks later, Lawrence upsets Waterville in the Eastern A final.

– 1987-88: The 3-point shot is implemented.

– 1989 and 1990 — I’m coaching at John Bapst and our teams win back-to-back Class C state titles with a 19-3 record each season.

– 1992: Bangor wins its first Eastern Maine title in 30 years, but loses to South Portland in five overtimes in the state final.

– 1993: Rockland loses twice by over 20 to John Bapst in the regular season and loses to Bapst 32-30 in a slow-down game in the Eastern B final. My John Bapst team wins the state title with a 22-0 record and that other team three miles up Broadway, Bangor, wins the Class A state title with a 19-3 record.

– 1993: Jonesport-Beals wins its ninth state title under coach Ordie Alley, the most state titles for any Maine high school coach.

– 2001: Bangor upsets heavily favored Deering at the buzzer on Joe Campbell’s rebound put-back.

– 2005: Ninth-seeded Hampden wins a prelim, upsets first-seeded Bangor and goes on to become the lowest-seeded Class A team to win a state game.

– 2011: Bangor wins its 10th Eastern title and eighth state crown under coach Roger Reed.

– 2012: Hampden wins its first of four consecutive Eastern Maine Class A titles. Coach Russ Bartlett goes on to guide his teams to six Eastern and three state titles since 2005.

– 2016: The first tourneys with five classes.

Bob Cimbollek is a retired high school basketball coach and athletic director.