Friday, March 13, 2009

Old School Hoops

Since we're talking about old schools like Central High, how about some old-school basketball? After a post on the Catholic sports leagues, Flint Expatriate Kelly O'Connor came up with these shots of a game between St. Mary's Swartz Creek and Holy Redeemer in the St. Mary's Flint gym. (St. Mary's Mt. Morris was also in the league, proving that Flint area Catholics really like Mary.) Check out the socks and the Chuck Taylor's. You can see the banners for all the Catholic schools hanging on the walls. Also note the lack of real estate once you left the court. Dive for a loose ball and you got introduced to a metal folding chair. Number 55 in blue is Larry Ragnone. (Click on the photos to enlarge and get full nostalgic effect.)


St. Mary's Swartz Creek cheerleaders Kelly O'Connor (left), Ginny Thompson (top), and Maureen O'Brien (doing all the work). Note the ref lounging at the scorer's table in the background.


The transition after a basket. One of the St. Mary's cheerleaders appears to be putting some kind of hex on the ref. As you can see, there was approximately six inches of out-of-bounds space under this hoop, so the refs were fairly lenient if you stepped on the line taking the ball out. If you drove to the basket, you made sure to stop yourself before you slammed into the front of the stage. (By the way, in gym class kickball games at St. Mary's, it was home run if you kicked the ball onto the stage from the other end of the gym.) Notice the banners on the wall. Was the Holy Family nickname really the Hustlers? Seems mildly inappropriate, but this was the seventies.


Mark Burdgick, in blue, with an unidentified player at mid court. Years later, Mark used the lessons he learned on the court to graduate at the top of our class in high school and throw an amazing party our senior year when his parents were out of town.


Kelly O'Connor (left) in cartwheel mode, Maureen O'Brien (back), Virginia Thompson and Debbie Voller. The St. Mary's coach is on his knees in the background giving instructions. It wouldn't matter; nobody ever beat Holy Redeemer.

27 comments:

  1. The stage behind one of the baskets required the cheerleaders to keep their eye on the game - or else!
    A friend of mine once launched a desperation shot at the end of the game that was way off course.
    While the ball missed the basket - it did hit a cheerleader in the head. OUCH.
    I forgot that the Catholic league did allow some of the public schools to play - such as Atherton.

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  2. Holy Famliy Hustlers? What about the St. Pius Pimps?

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  3. Hey, a pimp reference from someone named dortandlippencot. (I think it's Lippencott, by the way, but I'm the last person to correct spelling.) How appropriate.

    I like the alliteration, but I think St. Pius went with Chargers.

    And before anyone gets upset, let's just assume that only Catholics (practicing, lapsed and all other variations) would comment on this obscure post. So this is all in fun.

    (Why do I feel guilty about something before anyone has even complained? Must be the 13 years of Catholic school.)

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  4. Two "i"s, two "t"s, guys -- Lippincott -- named originally, I believe, for a farming family in Burton or Davison Township.

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  5. God, this is exactly why I don't correct spelling. I'm worse than Dan Quayle.

    Anyone out there want to be the copy editing intern at Flint Expatriates?

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  6. Pimping? Um, I'm not really sure...Oh, the copy editing. Nothing, of course.

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  7. Awesome pictures! Brought back memories of how difficult it was during a game for the team with the next game to wind themselves around the court, past the stage, and then up the steps to get to the locker room.

    As dated as the player uniforms look, these are definitely more recent than my era -- the mid-70s. I know this (1) because the only St. Marys in the league at that time was Flint and (2) it used to be players, scoring table, and coaches all on the one side (the side from which the photos were taken). How archaic is that? Parents and coaches co-existing with nary an argument that I ever recall about playing time.

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  8. I remember that gym well. Very dangerous. St Lukes always beat Holy Redeemer and for that matter almost always beat everyone else. Then when they consolidated Donavan North dominated in every sport for quite a while later to the chagrine of the other schools. It just wasn't fair. Powers is still enjoying dominance.

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  9. Dr. Charles Lippincott was the first president of Hurley Hospitable, which originally was suppose to be very small. But having great insight into what the growing community needed, increased the size of the hospitable substantially. Could have been a farming family as well, but not why our great town has a street named Lippincott. 2 cents.

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  10. The ref lounging at the table is none other than Bob Herman (father of Tim). He was the only referee I can remember vividly that called a fair game. Looking back, he was one of the best.

    AND---didn't that gym at St. Mary's look great? Yes, it was dangerous, but goddamn, it was great.

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  11. Würstside WarlørdMarch 13, 2009 at 2:37 PM

    Just imagine someone googling "flint basketball" hoping for some Matean Cleaves, Morris Peterson, Glen Rice, McGee twins action and THIS pops up. The last basketball game played in Flint where all of the participants were white!!

    For the love of... Mary, the cheerleaders were taller than the players!!

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  12. Wurstside, it's a school in Burton playing a school in Swartz Creek. You expect racial diversity?

    And I think the camera angle is playing tricks in these photos. These were some big boys.

    Okay, the cheerleaders are taller. There sure as hell wasn't any dunking in this league.

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  13. And I was thinking these shots look more like the 1940s than the 1970s, then I realized the uniforms might very well be from the forties.

    And this is just when leather Dr. J converse were starting to replace the Chuck Taylors, but they were so expensive no one had them.

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  14. Würstside WarlørdMarch 13, 2009 at 5:06 PM

    Burton and Swartz Creek? What the heck are these kids doing playing hoops? A Burtonian playing basketball is like a nomadic Berber playing ice hockey. Shouldn't they be bass fishing or in a deer blind or pitching horseshoes?

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  15. Wait a minute. If this is Holy Redeemer, where are Compton, McGinnis, and Case?

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  16. Holy Redeemer was just a guess based on the uniform colors matching the Redeemer banner on the wall. Was there another school with the same school colors?

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  17. Hey, is this by chance the Holy Family Hustlers? I seem to remember them having uniforms somewhat similar to Holy Redeemer. To be honest, I don't recognize any of the guys in these photos, and I have the Redeemer players from this era seared into my memory from losing to them so many times.

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  18. Sometime in the past 30 years Holy Family apparently changed their name from the Hustlers to the Panthers. Damn shame.

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  19. I played on this HR team....Compton, Case and McInnis weren't in because we were up by 30 points at this point and we needed a breather. Great times and better memories. Became great friends with most of my competitors once at Powers...the gym was awesome..never forget the smell.

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  20. I played on the HR team shown...Compton, Case and McInnis were taking breathers as we must have been up by 30 points at this point in the game. Great memories of that gym and the smell it had...remember that? Went on to Powers with a lot of those guys...what a great memory! The Flyers rocked.

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  21. Thanks for clarifying Anonymous - I THOUGHT that the team was HR!

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  22. the only Ho's on dort and lippincot anymore, are transexuals. I gotta hang w/Clarissa on the Holy Family Hustlers...but probably not for the same reason. Wurstside, there ain't any bass in Swartz Creek. just peckerwoods....

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  23. Definitely Holy Redeemer and McGinnis is in one of the pictures. You could never confuse Holy Family with Holy Redeemer. The Family always had much more 'current' sports uniforms. I believe in my 7th or 8th grade year, the HR cheerleaders got new uniforms and it was a big deal. I wasn't a cheerleader. I can tell you the girl's basketball, volleyball, and softball uniforms were some of the thickest, oldest, and ugliest polyester garb ever produced. I think the weight of each uniform was part of the strength training. No one was sentimental handing in those wretched things at the end of a season!

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  24. I don't want to darken the mood ,but this is the gym where I first met John Daniels.Our coach John Bojcun talked about him for a whole week before our game with St. Mary's Mt. Morris.By game day he had built Daniels up so much we hated him.Then after the game we hated him worse because of the sound whooping he gave us.That all changed a couple years later when we realized that St. Mary's only went up to the 6th grade and that his parents were sending him to our school Donovan North.RIP John.

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  25. I'm curious to know if anyone can remember where St. Mary's (Flint) played their games when they had a high school.

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  26. I BELEAVE THAT WHEN ST MARYS STILL HAD A HIGH SCHOOL THEY PLAYED THEIR GAMES AT POTTER.

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