Albion’s first N-O League basketball championship season was perfect

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 January 2021 at 9:52 am

Contributed Photo – Albion captured its first Niagara-Orleans League boys basketball title during the 1971-72 season. Here Steve Pettit puts up a shot during the Purple Eagles home court win over Starpoint which capped off a 12-0 league campaign. Surrounding him is the Starpoint trio of Mark Ammerman (25), Tom Smith (13) and Jim Smith (23) as Craig Anderson (40) moves in for the Purple Eagles.

Area high school basketball teams will begin practice tomorrow with Albion starting to tune up to defend its Niagara-Orleans League title which the Purple Eagles shared with Newfane last year at 9-3.

With Albion getting set to defend that title it recalls the Purple Eagles first N-O championship which came during the 1971-72 season.

Albion compiled a perfect 12-0 N-O record that season. The Purple Eagles clinched the title with a 54-41 victory at rival Medina to go to 11-0 and then completed the undefeated campaign with a 91-84 home court win over Starpoint.

In the win over Medina Vic Hughes led Albion’s balanced attack with 16 points as Craig Anderson added 13 and Dave Stackwick 12.

Anderson then poured in 28 points against Starpoint as Hughes and Earl Townsend both netted 17 and Stackwick 14.

The title was a special one for first year Coach Larry Graham who had also guided Albion to the N-O football championship in the fall as the Purple Eagles shared the crown with Roy-Hart at 5-1..

The Purple Eagles kept the momentum by then scoring three straight postseason wins to claim their first Section VI championship.

Competing in Class BBB, Albion defeated Falconer 60-43 in the quarterfinals and Alden 76-68 in the semis before nipping Salamanca 67-66 in overtime in the championship game.

A driving layup by Hughes with seven seconds to go in the overtime provided the margin of victory over Salamanca and the championship for the Purple Eagles. Hughes finished with 19, Anderson 17 and Stackwick 16.

In the quarterfinals Stackwick scored 15 and Hughes 13. Hughes then netted 21, Stackwick 19 and Anderson 16 in the semifinals.