Bills were always a basketball favorite

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 7 January 2021 at 2:55 pm

Contributed Photos – In action here from the Bills basketball team’s 1981 contest against the Lyndonville faculty Bills All-Pro linebacker Jim Haslett moves in to defend as Mark Hughes passes the ball up court.

Local sports fans will have a featured attraction on TV on Saturday afternoon as for the first time in many years the Buffalo Bills will host a playoff game facing the Indianapolis Colts.

However, for many years  local sports fans had the opportunity to see and meet some of their favorite Bills players, not on the football field but on the basketball court.

Packed gyms were the norm  when the Bills basketball team came to town to play a benefit game. From the mid 1960’s until the mid 1990’s  Medina, Albion, Lyndonville and Middleport were frequent stops on the Bills cagers late winter/early spring schedule of games around Western New York.

And the list of Bills players who competed locally over the years is an impressive one including Jim Kelly, Cornelius Bennett, Jim Haslett, Lou Piccone, Joe DeLamiellure, Shane Conlan, Jerry Butler and Darryl Talley.

Some of the squads who provided the opposition during these benefit contests included the Medina, Albion and Lyndonville faculties, the Medina All-Stars, the New York Correctional Officers, the Medina Jaycees, the Orleans All-Stars and the Mr. Ed’s team from Middleport.

The contests often included trick plays, such as a field goal attempt for a basket and audience participation hijinks, especially when Lou “Conehead” Piccone was on hand.

However probably the most popular part of the event was the post game autograph session where fans could get the opportunity to get an autograph, take a picture with and talk to some of their favorite Bills players.

From that same game at Lyndonville Bills side receiver Lou Piccone drives for a layup against Wes Bradley.

In a game at Medina, Lou Piccone lines up to try a three-pointer – field goal style. Keith Moody is the holder while blocking on the line, from left, are Dennis Johnson, Rod Kush, Ken Jones (checking signals), Dee Hardison (being blocked by Jim Hancock) and Joe DeLamielleure.