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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 (3/11) in 1980

Today (3/11) in 1980: Shaker, the undefeated #1 team in the state, played in the sectional finals vs. CBA. The largest crowd in section 2 basketball history - a standing room only crowd of over 7,000 fans - came out to watch. This game was supposed to be a major stepping stone on the way to greater achievements -the regional and state tournament - and another showdown with Mt. Vernon - loomed in the coming weeks. Win or lose, it was the final local game for Shaker. It was supposed to be a blowout.

Instead, 7,000 people watched the most stunning upset in Section II history:

We'll talk about it in detail in the next few days, but for now just a few quotes I gathered about the game, and one story:

Tim Cain '81: "It was the kind of game you just try to block out of your mind."

Jeff Tuecke '81: "After it was over, in the days afterwards, I remember being more embarressed than anything else."

Sam Perkins '80: "I was shocked. I realized it's always possible to lose, but I never imagined it would happen so quick, all at a sudden."

John Brennan '81: "I still, 26 years later, don't know how we lost. I still can't believe it."

I don't remember this game. I was there, but i was only 2 years old. What I do remember is that this game crushed many peoples' spirits, dramatically. Specifically, I remember what it did to my father. He honestly never got over it. It wasn't like it was a big deal in my childhood or anything, but I can say it directly shaped my sports-related upbringing. Anytime - and I mean anytime - I talked about an upcoming sporting event being a definite blowout, my father would shake his head and say something like, "Don't forget, CBA beat Shaker. Anything is possible."

Twelve years later, when Dad and I went back to Glens Falls for the 1992 sectional title game, he had us get there about an hour early. He took me to the seats where we had sat in 1980 - he had memorized the section, row, and seat numbers - and we sat there for a good half hour just staring at the empty court, while he retold me the details of the game, quarter by quarter. It was like listening to someone describe a funeral. And in a lifetime of watching and talking sports with my father - be it the Giants, Yankees, Knicks, Orangemen, Saints, or hishigh school baseball team - I never saw him get as sad as he did talking about March 11,1980.

CBA beat Shaker. Anything is possible.

Full report about the actual game, and plenty of stories, coming over the next few days.
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