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Girmindl's Ghost

A diary of Shaker High School's 2005-2006 basketball season, a retelling of Shaker's fabled 1979-1980 season, and general commentary on high school hoops, updated daily...

"I like sitting in the back row. I found that sitting against the wall is just easier on your back." -Dean Smith, on the comfort of the H-gym bleachers

Today (12/27) in 1979

Today (12/27) in 1979: Shaker played their 1st round game of the Shaker Invitational Tournament, which later became the Girmindl Tournament. In 1979, Shaker invited Saratoga (which was not yet in the Suburban Council), Albany, and Colonie to the tournament. The first round matchup was Shaker vs. Saratoga and Albany vs. Colonie. Coming into the tournament, Shaker stood at 4-0, Saratoga at 4-2, Albany at 3-2, and Colonie at 2-2. Obviously, Shaker was a heavy favorite to win the tournament.

One dissapointment of the tournament was that not everyone got to see it. Although the Shaker gym had been quite crowded during the prior 1978-79 season and either sold out or close to sold out during the first two home games of the 1979-80 season, no one was prepared for the onslaught of spectators at the Invitational tournament. Estimates range between 200 and 500 people having to be turned away both nights because the H-gym was sold out to a standing room only crowd.

In the first game of the night, Albany easily beat Colonie, 78-62 to gain a birth in the tournament finals.

The Shaker-Saratoga first round game turned out to be the best game of the tournament. After jumping out to a 22-7 lead, the Bison played very poorly in the late 2nd quarter and 3rd quarter, and had to hold on for a 66-62 win. It was by far their smallest margin of victory during the regular season (next smallest was 16) and it was the only time they were in danger of losing a game in the 4th quarter.

In the first quarter, Shaker easily controlled both ends of the court. Using a balanced attack, Shaker built a 22-9 lead a the end of the first quarter. Perkins, Meehan, and Brundige all had 6 points, and Tuecke chipped in with 3. It looked like Shaker would cruise into the finals against Albany via another typical blowout.

In the second quarter, however, things changed. Shaker turned the ball over numerous times and didn't execute on offense. Saratoga's small, quick guards came alive from the outside, and Shaker actually lost the quarter, 16-13. Still, they took a 10 point lead into the locker room.

In the 3rd quarter, Saratoga really put the heat on, and Shaker turned in its worst quarter of the season. The Blue Streaks won the quarter 23-14, and had closed the lead to 49-48 Shaker at the end of the period. Many of the points came on fast breaks where the Shaker defense failed to get back. After the game, a gruff Julius Girmindl called the team "lazy." Girmindl also rested Perkins during the final 4 minutes of the 3rd quarter, electing not to bring him in even as the lead continued to shrink.

Still, even with Perkins' return in the 4th, Shaker could not pull away. The teams traded baskets, and with 5:38 to go, Saratoga took the lead, 56-55, on a short jumper by Brian Smith, who tallied 25 on the night. Shaker immediately responded with a 5-0 run. Chuck Meehan made a pair of foul shots, and Perkins got fouled while converting an easy layup for a 3-point play. After trading baskets, it was 64-59 with 26 seconds left. But Saratoga got a 3-point play on a great shot by Smith and a foul on Brundige, and Saratoga was within 2 with 17 seconds to go, 64-62. Brundige made his shots after being fouled, however, and Shaker held on, final score 66-62. More an escape than a win, here's the cover of the Times Union sports section from the following morning:

That's Perkins going in for a layup in the picture, Tuecke is standing in the lane. On the far left is Cain, and in the background out by the (non-existent) 3-point line is Jim Howard.

Here is the partial box score:

Shaker (66) - Perkins 8 6 22; Cain 6 2 14; Tueke 3 0 6; Meehan 3 5 11; Brundige 3 3 9; Mitchell1 0 2; Howard 1 0 2. Totals 25 (16-26) 66.

Shaker 22 13 14 17 -66
Saratoga 9 16 23 14 - 62

Record: 5-0 (4-0 Suburban Council)
Next 1979 game: 12/28/1979 Shaker Inivitational Holiday Tournament, finals vs. Albany.
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At 8:53 PM , Anonymous Jimmy Parker said:

I was a big part of that game, when we the saratoga blue streaks lost 66-62 opening nite of that shaker tournament. Nobody gave us a chance in the world. But by the final buzzer, I,m sure everbody in that sro gym felt differnt about the blue streaks. Just think, if CBA did'nt beat us 50-48 in the section2 quarter finals we would have met again, and I guarantee you the outcome would have been different. J.Parker Toga    

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