Editor's note:?Over the next few days The Salem News will be presenting the first chapter of "Love Those Quakers:
The Road to Columbus"?written by Dave Hunter detailing what many consider the best season in Salem basketball history.
The story will continue Tuesday and Wednesday in the sports section.
The 1958-59 Salem High squad is considered the finest boys basketball team in school history. The Quakers were sectional, district and regional champions. They finished 25-2 and were state runners-up. Varsity players were, front, from left, Dave Hunter, Jim Solmen, Clyde Marks, Lou Slaby, Woody Deitch, Jim Lehwald, Dan Krichbaum; back, from left, Fred Harshman, Tim Burchfield, Ed Yates, assistant coach Karl Zellers, head coach John Cabas, Rick Theiss and Carl Dunn. (Photo courtesy of Dave Hunter)
"CRUCIBLE OF COMPETITION"
Salem had never played a more important regular season basketball game than its match up against Cleveland East Tech. The Scarabs (a black-winged beetle held sacred by the ancient Egyptians) entered the contest with a 31-game winning streak and a 5-0 record, mauling its five opponents by an 84.6 to 44.0 points per game margin of victory. In 1957-58, they were the class AA State Champions, returning four starters, two of whom were All State selections. And although the first Associate Press (AP) sports editors' poll ranking the top teams in the state would not come out for several more weeks, East Tech was the unanimous preseason favorite to repeat as the state champion.
About the Author
Dave Hunter's book "Love Those Quakers: The Road to Columbus" captures Salem's 1958-59 basketball team and its unique journey to the state championship game. Salem's record was 25-2 - both losses to the state class AA champion Cleveland East Tech.
Dave's book is a labor of love for the late Coach John Cabas, for his teammates, and for the town of Salem as he remembers it. He was named to the all-time Salem high basketball team chosen by Salem News readers.
As he states in the foreword: "This journey of self-discovery and self-exploration centers on the coach, players, and events that shaped the 1958-59 basketball season. As the narrator, I have colorized the original black and white images of the late 50's with my own memories and insights."
The author graduated in 1960 having set several scoring records in Salem basketball history. He matriculated to the College of William and Mary on a full basketball scholarship where he was a three-year letterman in both basketball and tennis, serving as team captain in both sports as a senior. Hunter earned his BA in history in 1964, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and Rhodes Scholar runner-up. He moved to California and received an MA in history from the University of California and then an administrative services credential from San Diego State. The author spent 40-plus years as a high school teacher, coach, and administrator in the San Diego area. He continues to serve the school district as an administrative designee for the special education department and student support services.
Hunter's book will be available when he returns to Salem for his induction into the Salem Athletic Hall of Fame. All revenue from the sale of "Love Those Quakers Salem" is being donated to the Salem Alumni Association in honor of John A. Cabas.
The Salem High School Athletic Hall of Fame's induction dinner and ceremony will be held on Thursday, Sept. 6 at the Salem Community Center. Those selected for the Class of 2012 are Ed Beck '32, Ned Chappell '60, Richard Huffman '86, David Hunter '60, and J. Robert Sebo '54.
Reservations can be made at the Salem Community Center or via phone at 330-332-5885. SCC accepts cash, Visa, Discover, MasterCard and checks (payable to the Salem Community Center). Cost is $25 per person and includes dinner and beverage provided by the Catered Affair. Seating is limited, and tickets are available on a first come-first serve basis. Reservations will be accepted through Aug. 27, or until sold out. Event tickets are transferable, but non-refundable.
Cleveland East Tech was a large vocational technical high school that drew from all over Cleveland, a city of over one million people at the time. The Scarabs starting lineup included: Jim Stone, 6'2"; Ken Glenn, 6'6"; Ed Ferguson, 6'9"; Gene Lane, 6'8"; and Lamoyne Porter, 6'4". The top players off the bench were Harold Sellars, 6'0"; David Childress, 6'9"; and Sam Franklin, 5'9" (How did he get in there?).
East Tech was a dominating team because of its superior height, devastating fast break, effective zone press, and uncanny shooting accuracy from anywhere on the court. Tech was led by its two All State players: Jim Stone, Mr. Outside, and Ken Glenn, Mr. Inside.
Stone's trademark was his long-range jump shot in which he released the ball from behind his head making it almost impossible to stop. He averaged over 20 points per game.
Glenn, although 6'6, was smooth as silk as he glided across the court to hit jumpers, to drive to the basket, or to rebound a missed shot. He was an excellent ball-handler, a lefty, who could penetrate to the basket with ease. He'd score 20 points per game because of his versatility.
Ed Ferguson at 6'9" was a tremendous rebounder using his strength inside to outmuscle opponents for rebounds or layups underneath. He attacked the boards.
Gene Lane at 6'8" (the only junior in the starting five) was very talented. He had a soft touch with a short-range jump shot. He also had a nose for the ball near the basket and, like Ferguson, loved to attack the basket for easy tip-ins.
Lamoyne Porter, a great athlete, was the Ohio state high jump champ who could out jump and out rebound everyone on the court. He was powerfully built and scored in double figures because he was relentless.
Clearly, Cleveland East Tech symbolized "Goliath" in this early season matchup.
Salem entered the game with a 3-0 record defeating Struthers, 64-40 to inaugurate the new gym; Columbiana, 64-49; and East Palestine, 74-57. Salem's margin of victory over its opponents was 69.0 to 48.7.
Salem's "starting six" was just beginning to gel, starting the 1958-59 season with three seniors and three juniors. Co-captains Lou Slaby, 6'4", 220 pounds of muscle and Clyde Marks, 6'4", 190 pounds of ruggedness returned as starters, bringing with them 9.2 and 5.9 points per game, respectively. The third senior was Woodrow "Woody" Deitch, 6'1", last year's sixth man who came on strong in the three tournament games averaging 14.7 in those important games. The three juniors to top off Coach John Cabas' six-man rotation were Dan Krichbaum, 5'10", Dave Hunter, 5'10", and Jim Lehwald, 6'1", all prolific scorers on the junior varsity team, but only Krichbaum logged enough varsity playing time to earn a varsity letter.
Gordon Arndt, sports editor of the Salem News described this year's edition of the Salem Quakers in the following manner:
The Quakers are somewhat inexperienced but the team possesses great potential. Under Coach Cabas' tutelage, Salem will be a strong team once again. This team will display great team speed and solid scoring potential. How strong a team this edition can be will be foreshadowed early when Salem hosts the Ohio state champion Cleveland East Tech in the fourth game of the regular season.
Arndt concluded his prognostication efforts by stating: "Playing opponents in their spanking new arena will play to the strength of this team: speed, quickness, and ball hawking skills. I'm optimistic about the 1958-59 Salem Quakers."
After three games into the season, the Quakers per-game-scoring broke down as follows: Krichbaum 16.7; Deitch 16.0; Hunter 10.3; Slaby 10.0; Lehwald 7.0; and Marks 3.7. From Salem's statistics, I guess you could figure out who symbolized "David" in this matchup.
The hype for this game was astronomical considering that East Tech was far superior based on its experience and veteran leadership. Nevertheless, the Salem News and the Cleveland Plain Dealer projected the game as an interesting matchup in northeastern Ohio. Coach Cabas had worked mightily to get East Tech on Salem's home schedule in the new Salem gym (more on this later).
Local basketball enthusiasts had been chewing the fat about Salem's chances against Tech's players with the physique of Wilt Chamberlain. Salem fans and friends tried to motivate us or inspire us to play well against these giants from Cleveland. Some even quoted maxims such as "It's not the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the dog."
I can't speak for the other players, but as a student-athlete 16 years old, neither philosophical rants nor wise sayings affected me very much one way or the other. I was concerned, however, that Scarabs was synonymous with spontaneous combustion: They were tall, talented, terrific champions who blew up all the teams that stood against them. And Salem stood in their path of destruction. One thing was for certain: They weren't coming to Salem during the Christmas season bearing gifts.
Gordon Arndt, the Salem News sports editor, always seemed to have an editorial (sports sketches) that pricked your brain before an important contest. The week of the East Tech game he wrote a very prophetic column: "With the rebounding of Slaby and Marks along with the maneuverability of Deitch, Krichbaum, Hunter, and Lehwald, the Quakers are on the verge of releasing their heretofore hidden potential and developing into a strong and brutal machine." This editorial was the first of many in which Mr. Arndt expressed Salem's potential for greatness in 1958-59.
Coming Tuesday: David vs. Goliath.