2013-03-01 / Team Leominster

The History of LHS Blue Devils

Boy’s Basketball 1903-2000
BY COACH RON MAZZAFERRO


Antoine Mitchell and Stan Miller. Antoine Mitchell and Stan Miller. The game of basketball was invented by Dr. James A. Naismith in December of 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Approximately ten years later, the first boys’ basketball team at Leominster High School was started, and a competitive interscholastic schedule was made for the class of 1903-04.

On October 29, 1903, a meeting was held in Room 6, at which McCloud was chosen captain and Geary manager of the team. Practice began on the close of the football season and on Christmas night the first game took place with Leominster defeating Fitchburg Business College by the score of 13-9.

The teams of 1903 through 1916 experienced good winning seasons and a few hard fought losing records. The teams of 1908, 1911, 1912, 1914, and 1916 had winning seasons along with defeating rival Fitchburg High School. The team of 1912-13 won the Wachusett League Championship and defeated Fitchburg both times.

Leominster experienced several winning seasons from 1916-1938 and competed in a few post-season tournaments, including the prestigious Worcester Tech Tourney. The 1938-39 team achieved a 9-3 record and was the first to defeat Fitchburg High since 1915-16 some twenty-three years earlier. The 1939-40 team followed with a 9-3 record and played in the Western Massachusetts Tourney. Led by the school scoring record 222 points of captain Tommy Smith, Leominster enjoyed their fifth straight winning season in 1940-41. Sixteen year veteran coach Charlie Broderick retired from basketball in 1947.

1948-49 produced a very successful season and first to defeat Fitchburg in both games since the team of 1912-13 some thirty-six years earlier! A strong 13-5 record was followed by the 1949-50 team.

In 1952-53 The blue and white went 12-5, defeated Fitchburg 77~52, and saw Charles “Sid” Brown smash the single season scoring record with 374 points in 17 games. In 1955 Dave Chester set a single game scoring record of 44 points during a well played contest against Fitchburg.

Leominster rolled to seven consecutive winning seasons from 1956 through 1963. The high scoring and tough defensive play of these teams was supported by great school spirit and capacity crowds at the Gallagher School Building.

The record of each team was: 1957 (11-5), 1958 (15-0), 1959 (14-1), 1960 (7-7), 1961 (10-3), 1962 (9-5), and 1963 (12-3). Bobby Johnson led the team of 1958 to an undefeated 15-0 season that continued into

1959 by reaching 28 straight wins. The teams of 1956-1963 had good success against Fitchburg High with the 1957-58 team winning both games.

Coach Lance Fowler stepped down after the 1963 season after 15 years at the helm.

From playing interscholastic games at the old armory gym in 1903, to the Carter School Building in 1906 and Gallagher Junior High in 1928, the “Blue and White” would begin playing at the present site of Leominster High School.

Under the guidance of Coach Ted Damko the teams of 1965 (10-7), 1966 (16-2), 1967 (15-3), 1968 (11-8), 1969 (15-7), and 1970 (14-6) more than carried the winning tradition of Leominster High Basketball. From 1965-1970 six consecutive winning seasons were played and four District I Playoff invitations were given. Teams defeating Fitchburg High during this time began with 1964, and onto the 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, and 1970. Leominster defeated Fitchburg four straight games from 1966 through 1967 and twice during the 1970 season.

The 1972 and 1973 teams each defeated Fitchburg once. In 1975 Coach Ted Damko retired and continued the scheduling of “The Best Competition” as athletic director of Leominster High School.

The 1976 Blue Devil team qualified for the district tourney with a 13-9 record. The teams of 1977, 1979, and 1980 had winning squads with the 1979 team defeating Fitchburg High both times and beating eventual state runner-up Holy Name during the season. Genorace “G” Armstrong set a single season scoring record with 402 points in 17 games. From 1979 to 1987 Leominster had nine straight winning seasons. The 15-6 team of 1981 beat Fitchburg and played Holy Name in the district Division I semifinals. In 1982 the team went 12-6 and saw Don Chamberlain become the all-time leading scorer with 812 career points.

The 1984 team recorded a 15-6 record, a nine game win streak, and played St. John’s in the district semifinals at Holy Cross College. 1985 earned a 16-6 record, defeated Fitchburg in regular season play, beat top seed Worcester South in the district semi-finals, and lost a heartbreaker to Fitchburg at the Worcester Centrum in front of 6,500 spectators in the district finals.

1986, 1987, and 1989 all had fine winning seasons and defeated Fitchburg High School. The 1989 team won both games against their rival. Leominster qualified for the district tourney again in 1996, 1999, and 2000. The 1999 and team of 2000 defeated rival Fitchburg twice each for four consecutive victories over our rival! Leominster’s 1999 team defeated top seed Marlboro in the districts and played Holy Name in the semi-finals at W.P.I and a crowd of 3,500.

Accomplishing new school records from 1999 and 2000 were: Antoine Mitchell in scoring with a career high of 867 and season total of 402; Matt Hulecki in three point scoring with 58 for the season, 26 consecutive games, and 7 in one game; and Stan Miller with 300 career rebounds and single game record with 23. Long time coach Ron Mazzaferro retired after the 2000 season.

Throughout the years Leominster has been represented by many outstanding teams and players. The single most common characteristic that Leominster High Basketball has always been associated with is that L.H.S. ALWAYS PLAYED THE BEST IN COMPETITION.

Researched and prepared by Coach Ron Mazzaferro-completed after the 1999-2000 season. Special appreciation to my late wife Joyce for her help in compiling much information up to the 1990 season.

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