Kennedy Memorial League returned basketball to Medina’s Pearl Street Armory

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 28 April 2020 at 9:54 am

Contributed Photo – Steve Balcerzak of the Penny Saver team puts up a shot over Mark Lafler of the Sacred Heart squad during the 1979 inaugural season of the John P. Kennedy Memorial Basketball League at Medina’s Pearl street Armory.

When the state closed Medina’s Pearl Street Armory and moved the local National Guard unit to Batavia in 1977, a concerted effort by a determined local citizens group headed by former Mayor John P. Kennedy was successful in obtaining title to the building allowing for its reopening as a community use and recreation facility.

Fittingly when a men’s basketball league was organized at the armory, which now is the Lake Plains YMCA, it was called the John P. Kennedy Memorial Basketball League.

The Albion Correctional team captured both the regular season and playoff titles during that inaugural 1979 season.

Albion Correctional, which went 8-0 during the regular season, downed Penny Saver 87-80 in the playoff championship game. Fisher-Price bested Sacred Heart 81-70 in the consolation game.

Four players hit double figures for Albion’s balanced offense while Penny Saver’s Steve Balcerzak took game high honors with 33 points.

David Kennedy, one of John Kennedy’s sons, presented the championship trophy.

In the semifinals, Albion Correctional downed Fisher-Price 93-84 and Penny Saver edged past Sacred Heart 85-81.

High scorers in the semifinal contests were Balcerzak with 38 for Penny Saver, Michael Briggs with 34 for Albion Correctional, Mark Dennis with 34 for Fisher-Price and Bruce March with 29 for Sacred Heart.

The other teams competing in that inaugural season of the regional basketball league included Journal-Register, Crazy Dave’s, Job Corps, Medina Optical Fashions and Zavits Motors.