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Sports letters

March 30, 2008
The Altoona Mirror
Series confused biggest shot

Geez, I must be mistaken. I thought all those kids taking that imaginary last-second shot at their backyard hoop were hoping to win a championship. Based on the Mirror’s ranking of the No. 1 and No. 2 high school shots of all time, we now know these young hoopsters only had visions of state quarterfinal wins dancing in their heads.

The Mirror’s Big Shot series brought many wonderful memories but, unlike the players remembered, the Mirror missed in the clutch when it came to the No. 1 shot, naming one of a number of state non-title playoff game winners over the only state championship buzzer-beater in the entire history of boys and girls high school hoops in Blair County.

I know that some may discount my comments because I am a Bishop Guilfoyle grad and, more importantly, my brother Denny Tomassetti is the player who made BG’s big shot, but that begs the real question.

The real question: If any BG player and for that fact probably any other local player not wearing the maroon and white had sunk a midcourt ‘‘Hail Mary’’ to win a state quarterfinal for their high school, and any Altoona High player would have made the only state championship walk-off game winner in Blair County scholastic hoops history, how would the Mirror have ranked those shots?

Even the casual fan knows the answer.

Terry Tomassetti


Don’t forget Blue Pirate moment

I enjoyed Buck Frank’s nostalgic ‘‘Big Shots’’ series.

There were other important shots over the years that were equally big — or even bigger. Among these was a shot from more than 40 years ago.

Here is the the scene: Williamsburg and Bishop Guilfoyle were competing for the 1965 Philipsburg Holiday Tournament championship. BG got off fast, leading 27-10 at one point. With 1:31 left, BG still held a nine-point lead of 60-51.

Then developed what is arguably the most remarkable comeback in Blair County basketball history, as the Blue Pirates battled back and tied the game at 60 on a shot by Pepper Appleman with 26 seconds left to play.

The shot: After a missed BG shot with the score tied, Williamsburg gained control of the ball, and with seven seconds left, sophomore Tom Frye scored on a driving layup to give the Pirates a stunning 62-60 victory and the tournament championship.

The aftermath: This was the eighth in a series of 50 consecutive Williamsburg victories. The 25-0 1965-66 team, led by high-scoring Bill Kagarise, won the 1966 PIAA Class C championship. The 1966-67 team, captained by Bruce Houck, won 25 consecutive games before falling in the western final. Frye led the 1967-68 team to a state final, the team suffering a heartbreaking one-point loss. Led by Bill Adams and the late Pat Shute, the BG team won the PCIAA state final in 1967.

Tom Frye’s shot remains one of the biggest shots in Blair County basketball history.

Richard Tate


B-A students deserve choice

I feel sorry for someone that can be so narrow minded when it comes to a community school. The right is that of the student to choose, not that of a fellow football player.

We all pay school taxes. There should be no sport denied to a child.

I have a son and a daughter. They both played basketball, football, bowling and, yes soccer. It was their choice. So many parents force choices on their children.

What makes soccer un-American?

Someone needs to challenge Mr. McCaulley to a game of soccer. Maybe then he would understand the game and realize that soccer is a very challenging sport.

The Altoona and Hollidaysburg Area school districts both have soccer. They both still have very good football teams.

Too many children are not considered for football due to size, weight, speed or whatever reason. That child might make a wonderful soccer player.

Next Mr. McCaulley will want basketball out of the schools, or is basketball okay because it is an American sport?

Let our children have the choice of which sport they want to play. Not a parent trying to live their childhood again through their child.

Shirley Pine


Tough end for Guilfoyle boys

The 2007-08 Bishop Guilfoyle Marauder basketball season seemed to come to a premature end on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

That night, at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Sports Center, they went up against the Serra Catholic Eagles, the District 7 champs. The Eagles were also the WPIAL champions and ranked No. 1 in the state in Class A.

Needless to say, any loss that ends your season is always difficult to take. When it is both a season-ending loss and one of those games you deserve to win but don’t, it is especially difficult. Throw in the fact that it came at the hands of the top-ranked team in the state, and it makes it an almost impossible pill to swallow.

Unfortunately for BG, that is exactly what happened. The Marauder lead was as many as 10 points after outplaying and outhustling Serra Catholic for most of the first three quarters. At the beginning the fourth quarter, Guilfoyle led 35-27.

Near the end of the third quarter, it was obvious that at least on this night, the Marauders were the better team. However, it was not to be. The Eagles’ ‘‘never say die” attitude and a momentum swing nearly half way through the last quarter propelled Serra Catholic to a 50-46 win.

To me, there were two obvious areas that the Eagles had the upper hand that night. They shot 14 of 22 from the foul line, while the Marauders were a mere one of two, and they outscored BG 50-46.

Unfortunately for Guilfoyle, the latter is the only factor that determines who advances.

Despite the frustration of its ending, I certainly did enjoy the ride. Like any rollercoaster, it had both its peeks and valleys. A record of 20 wins and nine losses, however, provides a lot more ups than downs.

The Bishop Guilfoyle players and coaches should be congratulated for a wonderful and memorable season — a journey that though fun, was extremely too short.

Greg Lytle Altoona

(Editor’s note: The writer is the father of BG player Andy Lytle).

Disappointed in seat selection

I attended Ticketpalooza at Blair County Ballpark. Got my season ticket and I’m ready.

I see information posted about the annual Fanfest, walk downstairs to purchase my ticket. The gentlemen states that he has a single seat at a table.

What, I can’t sit with people I know? I explain that I meet others there every year (nine years running). We each buy tickets and meet at the Casino. Very politely he advises that I could purchase an entire table for all of us. I decline that offer.

He looks through the seating chart book (passes through some blank pages) and decides that I can be a table in the back of the room. I question about my friends sitting with me. He tells me only if they purchase a ticket for the same table. I’m still not sure if my friends bought tickets prior to me or not.

This is supposed to an informal setting to meet the upcoming team and also to renew friendships, but the Booster Club has taken this event and made it a formal gathering.

So, why should others be punished because they choose to meet others at the door and purchase tickets on their own? This is a dumb idea, and I have not found a single person that agrees with the assigned seating.

Brett A. Shaw

East Freedom

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