As provided by
Chuck Langerman, noted South Jersey sports historian
Today there are a lot of high school boys' basketball games scheduled in the Philadelphia area and on the cable channel ESPNU, but more importantly January 21, 2019 is the 33rd anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day which was observed for the first time on Monday, January 20, 1986. Fifty-five years ago on April 15, 1964, civil rights leader Dr. King (pictured here), who had just appeared that January on the cover of "Time" magazine visited Cheltenham High School. As part of the Cheltenham Township Adult School's "Five Star Forum," Dr. King spoke about race relations to a sold out standing-room-only crowd in the Cheltenham High auditorium. The speech was very moving, inspirational, and similar to his "I Have A Dream" epic speech. Dr. King was paid $1,000 plus transportation costs for the speech according to the contract (pictured here) between him and the Cheltenham Township Adult School.
Former Rancocas Valley football coach Bill Gordon started coaching at R.V. in Mount Holly in 1953 and became one of the most successful football coaches in South Jersey history, guiding the Red Devils to seven championships and two unbeaten seasons. Gordon compiled a 151-105-16 record over a 30-year career as coach of the Red Devils when he retired in 1982. Coach Gordon had many star players including Irving Fryar, Ron Gassert, Al Harris, and Franco Harris, all of whom played in the NFL. Franco Harris, in my opinion, is the most accomplished former New Jersey high school football player in state history with four Super Bowl rings. Before coaching at Rancocas Valley, Bill Gordon was the head coach at Manasquan High School, located in Monmouth County at the Central Jersey shore. At Manasquan, Gordon recruited a former freshmen football player named Jack Nicholson (Manasquan High "Class of 1954") to be his student manager. Nicholson, a self-described "class clown," was also the student manager for the basketball team until he got himself in trouble. Nicholson avenged the beating of a basketball teammate by sneaking into the opponent's locker room and attacking it with a Louisville slugger. He was banned from Manasquan sports after that incident, and began to get involved with the school's plays and musicals. Had Nicholson (pictured here at a Lakers' game) been less adroit at breaking and entering that day, we may never had known one of the most remarkable acting talents this country has ever produced.
Pictured here is former high school basketball star Keith Kirkwood, a 2013 graduate of Neptune High School in the central shore area of New Jersey. During his junior season, Kirkwood , a future nominee for the 2013 McDonald's All-America Boys High School Basketball Team, led Neptune's basketball team to the Group III state finals, averaging 17 points and 15 rebounds during the team's state title run. Keith Kirkwood dreamed of being the next Stephen Curry. He had multiple scholarship offers and intended to go to Davidson where he planned to become the next 6-foot-3 guard to lead the school to the big stage. College hoops stardom and the NBA were a reasonable dream for Keith. He starred on an AAU team alongside Karl Anthony-Towns, DeAndre' Bembry, and Malachi Richardson, all of whom now play in the NBA. After his junior year, scholarships started pouring in. Ivy League schools were interested in the National Honor Society member. So, instead of letting his dreams into focus, Kirkwood decided to try something new and become a multi-sport athlete. For fun and something new, he went out for the football team his senior season. It was the first time Keith ever played organized football. Kirkwood responded by catching 33 passes for 737 yards and was named to the All-Shore Conference Football team. The rest is history! He earned a football scholarship to the University of Hawaii before transferring to Temple University where he had a stellar career playing wide receiver. Tomorrow, Keith Kirkwood, the young man from the Jersey Shore who went out for football for fun his senior year in high school for the first time, will line up as wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints when they play the Philadelphia Eagles in Sunday's Divisional Playoff game.
Where Is He Now . . . ?
Tito Nanni (pictured here) was one of the top athletes in the Inter-Ac League during the decade of the seventies. The 1978 Chestnut Hill Academy graduate played football, basketball, and baseball and was the captain and MVP in each sport. Tito was an All-City selection in football, All-Inter-Ac in basketball, and All-American in baseball. He once hit four home runs in a game against Penn Charter. In 1978, Tito was the first round sixth pick of the Seattle Mariners. After his professional baseball career was over, he earned a B.S. in Business/Managerial Economics from the University of Utah. He is now an Operations Manager for UPS Freight in Salt Lake City, Utah.
One from Philadelphia. One from the Philly suburbs, and one from South Jersey. Three former high school basketball guards will be linked forever as the only prep players in Philadelphia-area history to score 100 or more points in a 32-minute high school basketball game. They are Bristol High School's Pete Cimino, (pictured here) Dobbins Tech's Linda "Hawkeye" Page, and Dajuan "The Messiah" Wagner from Camden High School.
Feb 14, 1981
BY TED SILARY
Dr. Tony Coma, the coach, decided to change his mind, then a star named
Linda proceeded to rewrite the most noteworthy page in this city's book of
schoolperson basketball records.
Remember the days when Wilt Chamberlain, who scored 90 points against
Roxborough in February of 1955, held the record for most points scored in a
Well, they ended yesterday with 4:04 remaining in the fourth quarter of a
Public League game between Jules Mastbaum Tech and host Murrell Dobbins Tech.
They ended in a flash, too, as Linda Page , a 5-11 guard, leaped from the
right side to follow a missed foul shot by Lisa Gilliam for her 91st and 92nd
Better still, with 48 seconds remaining, Page was hacked on a baseline drive
and walked to the foul line. Swish. Swish. One hundred points.
Team-wise, the stats of note were Dobbins 131, Mastbaum 37. Page-wise, the
stats of note included 41-for-58 shooting from the field, 18-for-21 from the
line, 19 rebounds, 5 assists, 7 steals and 6 three-point plays.
" I wanted to break Wilt's record and I'm glad I broke Wilt's record,
" said Page, who is expected to announce her college decision in early March,
choosing from among North Carolina State, St. Joseph's, Louisiana Tech,
Tennessee and Old Dominion. " I'm also glad it's over with. Like always, I
couldn't have done it without help from my teammates and coach. "
ESPECIALLY THE COACH. It was totally Coma's idea to take another crack at
One month back, after Page had scored 87 points against hapless Roxborough,
Doctor Tone promised that " this is the last assault" and " nothing will be
done on purpose from now on in. "
Even before yesterday's game, he indicated that a film crew from Channel 10
had been invited merely to " capture the hoopla surrounding Linda's 2,000th
career point. "
However, Coma let his emotions take control because several people had
opened their enraged mouths a little too wide.
" I received all kinds of adverse criticism when Linda scored 87 points,
" Coma said, with disgust. " It came from unnamed people, mostly those in
skirts. When that happened, I couldn't wait to turn her loose again.
" The people who criticized me didn't realize that Linda made our league
known throughout the country , not to mention her and our school. They
failed to see the forest for the trees.
" Linda Page is a one-in-a-million player. She's a Wilt Chamberlain to the
girls game. I don't care what people think about me. I was fried by the likes
of Sports Illustrated and Frank Dolson (while coaching the men's team at
Cornell). But I do care about Linda Page . I want people to know: she's a
great, great player. "
PAGE REACHED 37 points and the 2,000 mark on a breakaway layup (pass from
Freda Harris) with 4:51 remaining in the second quarter. Her quarter-by-
quarter scoring breakdown was 27-26-27-20.
Before anyone gets bent out of shape again, this was one of the cleanest
massacres in basketball history. Dobbins never pressed full- court and the
starters, except for Page, played no more than half the game. There was no
taunting, basket hanging or matador imitations on defense, either.
Coma partially informed Mastbaum Coach Jay Kuvik what was planned beforehand
- the assault on 2,000, not 100 - and Kuvik (" I had an idea she'd go crazy
against us" ) graciously made no waves when the game was stopped so Linda
could pose for pictures with her coach, principal Ed Magliocco and a
specially-painted ball to commemorate the occasion.
Oddly enough, the officials (Ralph Mappone, Barbara Ransom) also helped by
giving Page an even shake. In her 87-point game, bumps and little chops were
often ignored as the refs seemed to figure, " Ah, she'll get her points
anyway. She doesn't need our elp. "
Page tied Chamberlain's record with 5:01 remaining as she dribbled behind
her back and nailed a 10-foot jumper. After breaking the record on the follow
and sticking three more jumpers, raising her total to 98, Page passed to
Danita Gilliam for a would- be three-point play.
HOWEVER, THE foul shot kicked off to the right side and Linda missed a
follow and a subsequent jumper - only the second time all game she'd flubbed
The successful free throws helped her ease into the three-digit club five
" I enjoyed this game more than the other one (Roxborough)," Linda said.
" Why? I was making more of my shots.
" Really, this wasn't planned. It just started as the day to hit 2,000. But
I got 37 pretty quick and I knew by the half that I had to be close to 50. We
could see that the record was within reach. "
" When Linda had scored 53 at the half, all systems were go," Coma said. " I
told the girls that Linda needed only 38 more to break Wilt's record and that
I was sure they'd all like to someday say there were proud to play in a
really special game. "
With that, as the players broke their huddle, they bellowed the following
cheer: " Break Wilt's Record!! "
Through 12 league games, Page owns a scoring average of 53.4 and her overall
average (17 games) is 49.2. Wilt's senior-season average in Public League play
DON'T LOOK NOW, but Linda (2,063) also has a chance to top Chamberlain's
career scoring mark of 2,252. The Mustangs could play as many as seven more
games if they win the league championship.
On Wednesday, however, they were topped by perennial powerhouse University
City as Page suffered a rare bad game.
" As soon as that game was over, I was so upset, I wanted to play another
one right away," Linda said. " Today, I took it out on Mastbaum. No, I don't
have anything against Mastbaum. I don't have anything against any of the
teams we play. "
Some teams, however, are treated worse than others by the scoring machine
with numbers on her belt like 46 (twice), 51, 53, 55, 61 (twice), 87 and 100.
Yes. One hundred.
Wilt would never believe it.