DOWN MEMORY LANE: BASKETBALL MEMORIES 1963
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Another basketball tournament is over and Jordan reigns as the Class A champion for 1963. What a game basketball is and how hard it is to predict the outcome of a game by past performance. This year was a good example as Jordan only lost two games in regular league play and both defeats came at the hands of the Bingham Miners, who finished sixth in the tournament. A basket made or missed or a few foul shots made and Bingham may well have been the champs.
Anyway, the boys from Bingham gave a good account of themselves and they undoubtedly took enough out of Bountiful the third night of the tourney, to make the victory for Jordan easier Saturday.
Stellar star Jim Jimas joined the long line of All Staters from Bingham and was the leading scorer in the Class A classic. Guess we can claim a bit of glory the selection of Tom Marriott from Jordan on the All-State team and rated by most of the writers, the outstanding small man in the tournament. Marriott, a graduate of Bingham, and grandson of Ross Marriott, long time resident of Bingham.
I was unable to make the tournament this year, but from the comments of old fans, there is much to be done to make the tourney more appealing to the fans.
Many of the supporters of the team do not relish the trip to Ogden to watch their team play. I suppose we must look at it from the standpoint of the teams in the north. They have had to make the long trek to Salt Lake City or Provo and now they can see their favorites in action most of the time in their own area.
The A tournament is more like a round robin meet than a representative statewide meet for the first three days. It is only on the last day that the teams from the different sections see each other. The problem of seeing all the teams in action is hard to do. You would have to travel quite a distance and sometimes it would be impossible to see the teams in action in the championship bracket.
The old days of sitting and watching all the teams in action in one place is over, at least in the Class A division. And next year it seems there will be a further separation of the teams and regions. We must bow to progress, I suppose, but much of the glamor and excitement is gone.
No longer do the little schools from southern Utah send up their colorful teams. Many of the players never saw a street car and one of the musts of a trip to the big city was a trip to the top of Walker Bank building to see the city.
These boys were called “rubes” and “hayseeds”, but they looked like basketball players when they suited up for the game, and they often took home the winner’s trophies.
Two of the cornerstones of the high school basketball tournament are gone forever, and they will be sorely missed and fondly remembered by all old timers who followed the tourney year after year.
Old Deseret Gym has been torn down to make way for a larger and modern facility. Who can forget this old gym, where the meet was held for many years before it outgrew the limited confines of the old place? Remember how we used to be packed in so tight that you had to take turns breathing? We even sat on the beams high above the floor, able to see only half the court at best.
Packed like sardines in the upper balconies and the Bingham section in the northwest end of the gym, that we bought out year after year. No team had more loyal supporters and it was a town affair. During the games, Bingham would be as dead as a cemetery and the few that stayed home would be watching the outcome on the blackboards at the Copper King or Diamond.
The man credited in great part to creating and making the tournament the big success it was, passed to his reward a short time ago. James E. Moss, the “daddy of basketball tournament” was a familiar figure at the meets even after his retirement many years ago.