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Recalling the area’s first holiday basketball tournament

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 24 December 2013 at 12:00 am

Albion, Medina competed in the 1958-59 Holiday Festival

Photo courtesy of Mike Wertman – Dick Zielinski puts up a shot for Medina against Albion defenders Ron Greenlee (21) and Dave Greenlee (15) during a semifinal round game of the inaugural Holiday Festival Tournament which was held during the 1958-59 season at Middleport and Medina.

Basketball tournaments over the Christmas vacation are now an annual feature of the high school winter sports schedule as the Albion boys and girls teams and the Medina boys squads will all be competing in such events this week.

The Albion boys will face Notre Dame at GCC, the Albion girls will take on the host school at Wheatland-Chili and the Medina boys will face Orchard Park at Starpoint in opening round action Friday.

Interestingly, Albion and Medina also both competed in this area’s first ever Christmas vacation tourney, the inaugural Holiday Festival Tournament during the 1958-59 season, a four team event which also included Roy-Hart and Lockport.

In the semifinal round held at Middleport, Albion defeated rival Medina 32-26 and Lockport downed Roy-Hart 54-38.

Dave Greenlee led Albion with 16 while Dick Zielinski netted 13 for Medina. Roy-Hart was paced by Bruce Ryder with 17 and Doug Brown 10.

The consolation and title contests were then held at Medina. Lockport claimed the tourney championship with a 60-53 win over Albion after Medina had trimmed Roy-Hart 43-37 for third place honors.

Al Rose scored 15 and Jim Swick 12 to lead Lockport while Albion had Dave Greenlee with 15, Denny Slizewski 13 and Ron Greenlee 12. Medina was sparked by Zielinski with 18 and Pat McElwee 12 while Ryder tallied 15 for Roy-Hart.

The tournament continued for two more years with Kendall replacing Lockport in the field.

Delayed twice by a snow storm, the 1959-60 tournament was held entirely at Medina.

In the semifinals, Albion defeated Roy-Hart 49-43 and Kendall downed Medina 47-20.
Albion then captured the championship by rolling past Kendall 60-39 after Roy-Hart had nipped Medina 43-41 for third place honors.

Dave Greenlee scored 15 and Slizewski and Dick Forder 13 each to spark Albion which went on to post a perfect 20-0 season record and claim the Section V Class A championship with a 56-42 victory over Honeoye Falls.

The final edition of the tournament took place during the 1960-61 season with Kendall hosting the semifinals and Middleport the consolation and title games.

In the semifinals, Medina defeated Kendall 47-22 and Albion edged Roy-Hart 47-43.

Dick Miller scored 16 and Bill Rankin 14 to lead Medina while Joe Capurso topped the 30 point mark for Albion.

Medina then captured the tournament championship with a 56-29 victory over Albion as Norm Goheen poured in 30. Capurso led Albion with 13.

Roy-Hart earned third place honors by defeating Kendall 60-30.