Call this the basketball report. After a 2-20 season the prior campaign, the Boys basketball team under Coach Ed Lyons shocked the world! [At least the Suburban Conference]. So picking up after last time, Summit defeated New Providence, 64-60, in an overtime thriller in its Christmas Tournament with Dave Poole going off for 33, including 15 at the line. The Hilltoppers trailed 58-54 with 2:15 in regulation before buckets by Poole and Bob Kimbrough tied it up, sending the game into OT. Summit also defeated Bayler-Ellard, 75-54, behind Poole’s 23. Tim Odell added 14, Kimbrough 12 and John Merchant 11.
Coach Lyons told the Herald of his squad’s early season success, “Dave Poole is a heck of a player. Dave Connolly and Tim Odell had to play guard last year and they learned their lessons. We’ve also added Bob Kimbrough, who played as a soph but sat out last season, and Dave Dixon, who is playing as a soph.”
Lyons notched win No. 399 of his sterling career as Summit defeated Ridge High, 58-53, behind Merchant’s 21 points and 11 rebounds. Connolly had 14 and Poole 11.
Win No. 400 for Lyons came against New Providence in Suburban Conference play, 65-54, as Poole had 26 and Merchant added 14 and 11 boards. [Summit was now 74-32 under Ed Lyons overall, the Hilltoppers having won three straight conference titles in the Wilson years before the ’74-’75 disaster.]
Next up Summit lost to Millburn, 65-57, as the Millers’ excellent forward, Steve Michels, had 34. Poole had 16, Merchant 13 and Connolly 12.
Summit then rebounded against West Orange, 58-55, behind Poole’s 16. Connolly chipped in with 14.
A win over Madison, 75-63, with 48 points in the second half, brought Summit to 3-1 in conference play, 8-3 overall, as Poole had 29 points and 16 rebounds. Dave Dixon added 16.
Springfield was next, another win, 86-62, as Dixon led the way with 17 and Poole and Connolly had 16 apiece. John Merchant, one of the more underrated athletes in the history of our school, had 16 rebounds.
But then Summit lost to mighty Caldwell, 55-53, as their star guard, Tyrone Holloway (this guy was good) had 29. Poole had 16 for us. So the Hilltoppers were now 9-4, 4-2 in conference.
Ah, but this would prove to be the low point
Summit moved to 6-2 in SC play with wins over Verona, 51-45 (Poole with 28 points and 10 rebounds), and revenge match No. 1 against Millburn, 76-61, as Merchant had 24, Poole 23, and Steve Michels was held to just six after getting 34 in the first meeting.
The Boys then continued their stellar play with an exciting win over New Providence, 62-60. Down 60-58 with just 37 seconds left, Poole scored on a layup and then Kevin Phelan fed Merchant for the deciding score with just 5 seconds to go. Dave Dixon led the way with 24 and Poole had 21.
Next up, West Orange, and a 59-51 win behind Poole’s 18 and a season-high 17 from Bob Kimbrough. So after going 2-20 the year before, Summit was 13-4, 8-2 in conference.
Two more wins followed, including grudge match No. 2, this one against Caldwell in Summit. Summit led just 28-26 at half and then, get this, scored 59 points in the second half to destroy the Chiefs, 87-54! And it was a balanced attack with Merchant and Poole tallying 16 apiece, Odell 11, and Kimbrough and Connolly 10 each.
Summit then defeated Madison, 61-47, despite Poole being in severe foul trouble, as Merchant had 15 and Poole 14. Ed Lyons said of the Summit scoring leader, “Poole gets into foul trouble a lot.”
Well, the Hilltoppers had moved to 15-4, 10-2 in conference, and with Caldwell being upset along the way suddenly Summit was one up on them. Two games left in the SC to give Lyons his fourth title in five years at the helm.
Win No. 11 in conference came against Verona, 60-54, as Dixon led the way with 21, Poole had 16 and Kimbrough 11.
But Summit was supposed to play Springfield for the SC title and instead went up against 20-0 Kenilworth in the Union County Tournament first and the Hilltoppers lost 69-57.
However, a few days later, Summit did indeed take the Suburban Conference crown with a hard-fought 56-54 win over a Springfield team that was expected to lay down. Dave Poole had a career-best 34 points as he went 14 of 16 from the free throw line. Poole scored Summit’s last 11 points of the game as the team finished 12-2 in SC play.
Some out of conference games followed, beginning with a 71-62 win over Watchung Hills as both Poole and Kimbrough had 16 apiece. West Morris fell next, 50-36, with Poole scoring 21 and Merchant adding 14.
So Summit was 19-5 overall heading into the state tournament. First up was Hanover Park, who fell 92-63 behind Dave Poole’s 29.
But then Summit came up against Caldwell again and this time the Chiefs prevailed, 54-48, as Tyrone Holloway had 25. Poole had 19 and Kimbrough 14 to lead the way for Summit.
Summit thus finished 20-6, a helluva season for our classmates and this is one editor who loved attending the games.
In other Summit sports news, the Herald didn’t say anything about how the bowling team did over the course of the year but it was led by Kirk Burton, Larry Dole and Dave Genualdi.
The wrestlers had a tough go of it, 3-10 in dual meets as best as I could determine for coach Ray Ostrowski’s matmen. Brad Cabibi, Mike Schipani, Dave Pease, John Jaffe, Mike Westbrook and Dave Goldblatt had their moments, however.
The swim team was 11-4 in dual meets, as Bill Specht led the way. Superstar Specht then shined in the big ones, winning the 100-butterfly at the Eastern Interscholastic Swim Championships, where he also placed 2nd in the 100-backstroke.
But then Specht (and that thing he could do with his shoulders that grossed us all out) led Summit to a state title in the district meet when he set state records in the above two events. Dave Hammer and Pat Hayes were two other heavy contributors all year.
Meanwhile, another Summit athlete was gearing up for the big stage, Kathy Heddy, who was allowed to graduate in January to focus on her bid to make the U.S. Olympic team and the Montreal Summer Games later that year.
Heddy at this time was 2nd in the world in both the 400-free and 200-IM, as well as 3rd in the 400-IM. She was training 4 1/2 hours a day in two separate sessions and told the Herald she was also getting 10 hours sleep!
One other sports note. Some of us guys were involved in rec league basketball play and it was very funny how much coverage the Herald gave it. I played on the highly-mediocre Point Spread Six with Bob Kocis, Jim Flanagan, Ken Pott, Pete Mangin and Bob Schoettle (so since I’m the editor the preceding all get permanent ink on the Web). Others, such as Rick Gross, Rob Guida, the Kline Brothers, Ron Ruppert, Bob Cotterell, Bob Piana, Norm Williams and Frank Rea (among our classmates) played for teams with the names Wastos, Nets, Lasarium, Tired Lyons, The Men, the Tunes, Metamorphisis, the Shamrocks and Slide Rule Five. We had some fun times.
Moving on to other stuff in town, there was a ton of crime during this period, including an incident where someone set off a pipe bomb at Memorial that blew open the fieldhouse door. Federal agents were called in. The Summit Diner was robbed of $425. Burglars hit the Summit High School photography department, stealing $2,225 worth of equipment. At the Junior High, Donald DeBanico’s office was knocked off for a tape recorder and digital clock, total value $80. OK, who knew about these last two! And Cumberland Farms (down by the car wash) was hit for a 5th time in 13 months, another armed robbery.
On the weather front, 1975 was a wet one…63 inches of precip when 45 is normal, but we only had 11.7 inches of snow. Not exactly the 60 inches Summit has seen the winter of 2010-2011.
At McElgunn’s, Jack Nicklaus “dacron polyester” blazers were big sellers. Oh, baby. We were stylin’!
Men’s Hush Puppies for $14 at Country Cobbler!
Frank Lehr became mayor and immediately had to deal with $550,000 in lost school aid, which is a familiar tale for today.
Former Congresswoman Flo Dwyer died. She was 73. Dwyer was the first Republican congresswoman from our state and served our district from 1956-72, to be replaced by Matt Rinaldo.
Monsignor Stone celebrated his 40th year in the priesthood, seven at St. Teresa’s.
And at The Strand the first quarter of ’76 were films such as “Grizzly Adams,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “A Shot in the Dark,” “Barry Lyndon,” and a favorite of mine, “The Man Who Would Be King.”
Next update around May 11.