Lincoln Park is the Post-Gazette's No. 1-ranked team in WPIAL Class A boys basketball. But for one night, the Leopards will try to take on the look of a super team from almost four decades ago.
Lincoln Park, located in Midland, will play Steelton-Highspire a week from today on the first night of the C.J. Betters RBA Holiday Classic at the Beaver Dome on the campus of Community College of Beaver County. For that game, Lincoln Park will wear "retro" uniforms and warmups. They will have the look of the 1965 Midland Leopards, who were undefeated and beat Steelton-Highspire, 90-61, in the PIAA Class AAA championship game.
The "retro" uniforms are white with blue and gold trim and "Midland" on the front. The warmups are blue and gold.
The 1965 Midland Leopards, coached by Hank Kuzma, were one of the best teams in both WPIAL and state history. The team finished 28-0, won by an average of 31.3 points a game, won seven postseason games by an average of 24.6 points and had two of the best players in WPIAL history in Simmie Hill and Norm Van Lier.
Hill was a 6-foot-5 forward-center who was eventually drafted in the second round by the NBA's Chicago Bulls and the first round by the ABA's Los Angeles Stars. Van Lier played 10 years in the NBA, made the NBA All-Star Game three times and led the league once in assists. The other starters on the team were Ron Brown, Steve Alston and Brent Lake. Brown averaged 17 points a game in 1965.
More about Betters
While Lincoln Park will wear "retro" uniforms, there is more to the Betters Classic that makes it one of the best holiday tournaments in the district. The tournament, which runs Dec. 27-28, has all four teams that are ranked No. 1 by the Post-Gazette in their respective WPIAL classes. They are New Castle (Class AAAA), Central Valley (AAA), Beaver Falls (AA) and Lincoln Park (A).
Besides having some top games, the Classic also gives a $2,000 college scholarship to one senior from each team.
The Quaker Valley boys are 5-0, average 75 points a game and the offense has certainly been a team effort. In a most unusual statistic, 10 different Quaker players have already scored double figures in at least one game. In a victory against Carlynton last Friday, Quaker Valley had four players in double figures and not one was a starter.
The 10 players who have scored double figures are Winter Fondi, Christian Miller, Chris Conlan, John Bernard, Qadir Taylor, Tyler Garbee, Jake Trovato, Tre'won Marshall, Clay Noyes and Leo Hill.
Check this out
* The Uniontown boys basketball team is believed to be the first in the WPIAL to reach 1,700 wins in school history when it defeated Derry, 82-35, last Friday. Coaches Abe Everhart Sr. and Abe Everhart Jr. had more than 900 of those wins.
* Cam Johnson, a 6-6 senior guard at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, has missed the past few games with a hamstring injury. Johnson, who was averaging 30 points after the first two games, should be back by next week.
* Gateway football star Montae Nicholson decided to play basketball this year and scored in double figures last week.