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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 (3/1) in 1980

Today...er, yestrerday, idunno, (2/29) in 1980: Shaker played its sectional second round game on leap year day in 1980. So today we're kinda covering two days of history. Nothing much happened on March 1st, 1980, so we'll just pretend today is February 29th.

If you recall from the 1980 Class A sectional bracket, Shaker's game today was a quarterfinal matchup against a well-known opponent, Burnt Hills. The game was scheduled for 7:30pm at Mechanicville Middle School. (Now that's a whole other story - for some reason, in the late 70's and early 80's, tons of sectional games were played at Mechanicville Middle School. I assume that it's the old high school and that it has a huge gym, but i can't say for sure. If someone out there knows the story, let me know).

If you recall, Shaker twice handily beat Burnt Hills during the Suburban regular season, although each time they had some early problems. In early January, the Bison shook off a poor first quarter and won going away, 63-38. Then in February, Shaker had only a 5 point halftime lead before running away in the second half with a 68-46 victory. There's an old saying in college and high school basketball that it's "hard to beat a team three times in one year." Logically, that's a really dumb statement, but it is true that the third matchup between teams is often a better one than the first two.

And it held true tonight. Burnt Hills gave the Bison everything they could handle, and Shaker was flat the entire evening. Luckily, the came alive for one fabulous 19-2 run in the middle of the game and won without too much trouble late, 65-54.

The first quarter played very tight, with Shaker winning 14-12. Said Coach Girmindl, "We were flat. Very flat. It's tough to play a team the third time." In the second quarter, Burnt Hills really turned up their game. Using a slowdown offense and hitting their shots, the Spartans took a 24-18 lead with 1:30 to go in the half. Shaker had yet to trail at halftime all year, and the crowd smelled a gigantic upset.

But the Bison came alive. Jim Howard hit two free throws and then stole the inbouds and scored, cutting the lead to 24-22. Burnt Hills then tried to stall of the last 75 seconds of the half, but after missing with less than 10 seconds to go, Tuecke quickly got the rebound out to Meehan, who hit Cain on the run for the tying layup as the buzzer sounded. 24-24 at the half.

The beginning of the third quarter was the turning point of the game. The Bison opened the second half on a 13-2 run, and never looked back. Brundige and Meehan turned up the pressure on the Spartan guards, and Perkins came alive with his inside game. Burnt Hills played the Bison close to even the rest of the way, but never got the lead to less than eight. The final was 65-54, the closest game of the season for Shaker except for the close call against Saratoga. It was also the smallest margin of victory for the Bison against a Suburban opponent during the previous two years ('toga was not in the Suburban yet).

Perkins finished with 28 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocks. Cain added 11, Meehan 9, and Brundige 7. The Bison improved to 22-0, but certainly looked shaky doing it. They would have to put up better performances in the coming weeks if they hoped to win the section, and eventually the state, title.Said Girmindl after the game, "A close game was good for us. From now on, they're all going to be tough."

In other second round sectional play around the league in 1980:

#13 Troy upset #5 Linton
#3 CBA beat #7 Saratoga
#2 Mont Pleasant beat #6 Albany

That means the bracket looked like this for the semi-final round:

What good fortune for the Bision, getting to play the #13 seed in the semi-final!

Here's the partial boxscore from the B. Hills - Shaker game:

Shaker (65) - Perkins 9 10 28; Cain 5 1 11; Tuecke 3 0 6; Brundige 3 1 7; Meehan 4 1 9; Howard 1 2 4. Totals 25 15 65.

Shaker 14 10 24 17 - 65
B. Hills 12 12 12 18 - 54

Record: 22-0 (2-0 playoffs)
Next '79-80 game: 3/7/1980, semi-finals against Troy, Glens Falls civic center.
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