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Home History Sports

Sports History

Every so often we are handed a glimpse of local sports history, and we love to share these with you! In the center of the photo above is Eugene (Bud) Whitney, who seldom missed an MA home basketball game. This photo was taken shortly before Bud passed away. He had a lifelong interest in local sports. Below is a note from Bud to Avern Danforth, followed by an article Bud sent to Avern in March of 2004. 


"Dear Avern,

As you know time is flying by very fast. I'm getting up there too fast. I have been going over some of my stuff and getting rid of it and I noticed your name on this one, so thought you might like a copy. I may be wrong but I believe this was the year that I took you fellows to Waterville for the playoffs. I'm possibly wrong but so be it.

Apparently you are doing well on the town council, I notice your name in the paper every once in a while.

Wishing you the best and good health.

A friend,

Bud W."

The Making of a Champion

The 1955-56 basketball season was the most outstanding season ever enjoyed by a Mattanawcook Academy basketball team. Their 21-1 winning record still stands as the best season in Mattanawcook history. They were Northern Penobscot League Champs, Group I, Division 2 Class "M" Regional Champs, undefeated Eastern Maine Class "M" Champs and were runners-up for the State Class "M" Championship.

The press was very complimentary of this team. Paul Dugas wrote, "With a revamped defense and four repeaters from the top six of last year, the Lynx of Mattanawcook Academy have become the scourge of Eastern Maine Class "M" basketball circles, and rank among the strongest quintets of all classes."

Owen Osborne wrote, "The Lynx have come up with a well-drilled, well balanced team that has the height, poise and ability to go just about as far as it really wants to go."

Stuart Haskell wrote, "Lincoln's tall and beautifully balanced basketball quintet displayed a tremendous power in turning back Lee 89-66 . . . with a starting line up that averaged six feet and possessed terrific speed . . ."

John McKernan wrote, "The impressive Lynx of Mattanawcook Academy had the poise, talent and discipline to emerge as the top "M" team in the Eastern half of the state."

Some common themes run through these descriptions of the championship team. The terms well drilled, beatifully balanced, well disciplined and poised refer to the results of good coaching.

Coach Fletcher started coaching this team in the 1952-53 season, the same season that co-captains Linwood Bowers and Avern Danforth started playing varsity ball as Freshmen. The "coach" was young, right out of college, and had been accustomed to a winning tradition while playing for Milo High School championship teams. He came into a school with a losing tradition that had won only 2 and 3 games in the previous two seasons and were generally considered the league "door mat". He had his work cut out for him.

The coach took the challenge and began to build the championship team. He was big on physical conditioning. He worked the team hard, enforced training rules and whipped them into a well conditioned unit that could run all game. He slowly began to change attitudes and to instill the desire to win into the team. This was one of his most significant accomplishments.

He taught that it was as easy to win, as it was to lose. When you get behind in the game instead of thinking "well, here we go again we are going to lose another one" he taught that you have to have confidence, believe you can do it and hang in there and win it. He prepared the team to do so.

The team won 5 games his first year which equaled the number won in the previous two years combined.

In Coach Fletcher's second year he really began to build his team. In addition to Bowers and Danforth, Dalton Jordan and Carroll Jones joined the varsity as sophomores and Elliot Potter made the team as a  Freshman. This would be the nucleus for the beginning of several winning seasons.

The coach drilled the team on fundamentals and taught a basic double post offense and a two-three zone defense. This served the team well as it had a very successful season winning 16 games, the Northern Penobscot League Championship, the Group I, Division 2 Regional Championship and went to the Eastern Maine tournament for the first time since 1939. They lost to a strong Orono team in the quarter finals. 

Coach Fletcher's 3rd team was another strong team who finished the season with an excellent 13-5 record. Only an overtime loss to Lee Academy in the Regional finals kept them from going to the tournament again. The "coach" had really succeeded in creating a winning attitude at MA. Three very good freshmen, Roger Holmes, Bobby Walcott, and Charlie Clair, joined Bowers, Danforth, Jordan, Jones and Potter as the championship team was being formed.

For his championship year the coach added two Juniors, George Albert and Wayne Danforth, and three more sophomores, Tim Ludden, Ray Coffin and David Gilpatrick to the above mentioned nucleus and the championship team was formed.

This team had a very experienced nucleus of players who had played under Coach Fletcher, so the coach's system was well established. Avern Danforth and Linwood Bowers, Co-Captains, were playing their 4th season. "Sam" Jordan, Carroll Jones and "Bean " Potter were in their third season, and Roger Holmes, Bobby Walcott and "Happy" Clair were in their 2nd season. With this experience the coach made a significant move. In addition to his double post offense which had a lot of set plays and variations from them, he instituted a man to man defense to go along with the 2-3 and 1-3-1 zone defense that the team had been playing. The team kept switching defenses throughout the games and the multiple defense strategy was very effective.

This team was made up of some very good students and the combination of intelligence and experience made the multiple defense work.

The terms height, speed and ability were comonly used to describe the talent of this team and this team was talented. It led all the "M" teams in eastern Maine in offense averaging 73-0 points a game and was ranked number three in defense giving up only 48.4 points per game. The winning average differential of 24.6 points was the biggest of all "M" or "L" teams in eastern Maine. It was an excellent shooting team with over 40% success from the floor.

The team was well balanced with height and speed as the starting five averaged 6 feet with four of the five starters at 6 feet or taller. It also had balanced scoring with six menbers scoring more than 100 points and four players scoring more than 200 points. The leading scorer was Sam Jordan who scored 407 points. Jordan scored on nearly 50% of his floor shots and standing six feet was also a good rebounder and a very steady player scoring in double digits in every game.

The second senior "Towser" Bowers pushed the rule to six feet, one and was generally the second man in the scoring parade, getting his 10 to 14 points a game. However, his main asset to the club was his rebounding work. Bowers was a 200 pounder who took up a lot of room under the boards and cleared them exceptionally well.

The third senior on the starting five, Avern Danforth, was starting for his 4th season and was the floor general of the team. Small in stature at 5'7", Danforth was a tricky playmaker with a good outside shot and ran the team like a capable quarterback, while getting his 10-12 points per game.

Two sophomores filled out the starting lineup for most of the year. At the pivot, six feet two inch Roger Holmes won the starting job from Elliot Potter although both played considerably during the year. Holmes was a good rebounder and fit into the group well.

"Bobby" Walcott stood six feet even and was the fourth member of the quintet who hit that figure. He was a good ball handler and worked smoothly in the backcourt.

The sixth member who scored more than 100 points was Elliot Potter. He was the tallest member of the squad and used his six feet three inches to clean the backboards effectively and had a jump shot that was about impossible to block. Elliot had a tremendous tournament. He faked, drove, jumped and moved exceptionally well and was a major factor in the team's success in the tournament.

Carroll Jones was the smallest team member at 5-6 and was the seventh man. Steady and reliable, he had a clever knack of stealing the ball.

The other squad members who played valuable roles in the winning streak of this team were Wayne Danforth and George Albert, juniors, and Charlie Clair, Tim Ludden, Ray Coffin and Dave Gilpatrick, sophomores.

The team's bench strength was a valuable assett as the reserves had an opportunity to see considerable action over the year.

A fitting conclusion to the season was the naming of four of the championship team players to the eastern Maine all-tournament teams selected by the competing coaches. Named to the class "M" first team were Dalton Jordan and Elliot Potter. Selected for the second team was Linwood Bowers and Avern Danforth.

Coaching, talent and experience combined to make a champion.

The 1965 Mattawamkeag High School boys' basketball team: #42 Randy Murphy, Dave Gordon, George Smith, Ed Madden, Steve Carr, #20 Lindy Wotton, #43 Wyman Russell, Clarence Thompson, Dennis Libbey, #24 Bob Leathers, #10 Steve Pine, Chuck Boutot, ?, Larry Wotton, Gerry Ogden, not sure on #32.


Baseball great Ted Williams poses in front of the Bon Ton on Main St. in Lincoln with a Miss Greater Lincoln (identity uncertain) circa early/mid 1950s. The local consensus was that the girl was Muriel Applebee from the Howland/Enfield area. But, we now have irrefutable proof she IS NOT the girl with him in this photo. So, we're back to square one! If anyone has any information about this photo or the girl, please e-mail us. Thanks! The negative is long gone, and as far as we know, there is only one print still in existence - ours
UPDATE: May, 2008 - The girl in the photo with Ted Williams is his second wife, Lee Howard. It was taken in 1961 and is VERY RARE as few, if any, photos exist of the two of them together.
At 89, oldest living LA bb player living in Lincoln
In 2007 the Lee Academy girls' basketball team coached by Ron Weatherbee had just won the Eastern Class D and State Class D girls' basketball championships! What a team - what a tournament. In 2008, Ron took his LA girls to the state championship again. This time in Class C!
To a smalltown girl born in "Crockertown", playing basketball was fun, but that was about it. State championships and all the excitement and hoopla we have today just wasn't there back in the early 1930's. In fact, the girls' game of basketball was played slightly differently back then. They had six players on the court at a time for one thing! Average team scores of 50 points or so were quite common, too. This young lady enjoyed the game enough to walk home - three miles - after school, walk back to school for practice, and then walk home again afterward!! Hmmm..... She played on the Lee Academy team all four of her high school years, and graduated in 1939. They never went to a tournament. "But, it was such fun!" After high school she actually played for a while for a Lincoln post-grad team made up of MA alumni even though she was a Lee Academy grad! Here's a photo of the 1936-37 Lee Academy team. And the lady, then a sophomore, we're talking about is the first girl on the left in the back row:
One other member of this team is still alive today, but she's six months younger than our subject. They were the "pioneers" 70 or so years ago...... How would that team compare to the teams of today? No comparison can be made. And, that's good because that world and game no longer exits. Ah, but the memories will always be there, passed down through the years to those girls' children and families and so on. Maybe someday I can do a story on how girls' high school basketball used to be played. We'll see..... Of further interest, is the fact that senior foward Dana Houghton from this year's squad is a distant relative! Small world - small town! Our girl didn't go too far away, actually. Her son lives in Chester with his wife and children, and her daughter lives in Lincoln with her husband. She still likes basketball, and, follows the Lady Pandas through the season. In fact we caught her at several games this season, this one in Lee last January:
That's her with the white coat enjoying the game with her niece Carol Marino and sister-in-law Kay Crocker. The Pandas won that game,btw! Will she be watching this year's LA team go for another state championship trophy? "Of course, I'll be watching the game on television. This is so exciting - I wouldn't miss it!" So, who is the oldest living former Lee Academy girls' basketball player? Oh, I didn't mention that I know her did I? Yup, I do. She's my mother-in-law, Hilda Crocker Stockley, Connie and Alan's mother. Now, I betcha you didn't know that! - Lee Rand (copyright 2008)

The 1932 MA boys' basketball team

The 1928 MA basketbnall team.

Here's the boys' basketball team from Howland Hight School, year unknown.

The 1964-65 Mattawamkeag High School Kats had a record of 14 wins and three losses.

The 1946-47 Winn High School basketball team: front row, left to right - Bill Fogg, Jimmie Davis, Capt. Herbert Haynes, Durward Gordon and Lyman Albert. Back row - Frank Dam, Woodrow Lee, Everett Fogg, Dick Fancy, Robert Wyman and Coach Wilkins.


Lincoln's 7th and 8th grade boys' basketball team, 1953 or 54
Back, left to right: Dalton Trott, Wayne Danforth, Granville Keith, Lowell Thurlow, Bob Clifford, Gary McFalls, Bob Moody, Roger Holmes, Elliot Potter. George Albert and Coach McLaughlin
Front, left to right: Dan Murchison, Tim Ludden, Reynold Michaud, Shirley Hamilton, David Gilpatrick, Cox, Earl Bates, Mike Leene and Peter Grant
Photo courtesy of Bob Moody
Lincoln's 7th and 8th grade cheerleaders, probably about 53-54
Left to right: Kay Murchison, Jackie Clifford, Barbara Bowers, Teddy Cobb, Judy Crocker, Sissy Bowers, and Carlene Marin
Front: Gayle Staples and Peggy Dickerson


September 10,  2007 - Hanging on the wall of the MA Gym is the above banner awarded to the Mattanawcook Lynx boys basketball team in 1922 for winning the Maine State Basketball Championship. That was 85 years ago this month. There are no other State Championship banners hanging at Mattanawcook Academy for basketball. That could change, so I thought I'd do a little digging to see what went on these past 85 years and how close the teams of the past came to getting that second banner. With the help of Dennis Lowell and George King I've come up with some information you may find interesting.


Here's a photo of the 1921 MA Lynx. This was the team the year before MA won its only state basketball championship in 1922. Left to right: George Haskell, Lawrence Clark, T. Walcott, Leamon McKinnon, Flub Delano, Raymond Doane and Cub Bryant. Below is a photo of the 1922 state champs.


The boys' teams have not fared well at the Eastern Maine Tournaments in Bangor over the years. Thirty-five years after their only State Championship they defeated Pemetic of Southwest Harbor for the Eastern Maine Class "M" title by a score of 56-46. That was in 1956 and the 1955-56 team went 13-0 before the State game. Quite an accomplishment in those days. And that year, in their only other State Championship appearance since 1922, they lost to Cape Elizabeth 76-51 in Augusta. Since then, the Lynx have only advanced to the Eastern Maine championship game three times.
In 1987 they lost to Calais for the Class "C" title 78-72, and the following year, having moved up to Class "B", they lost to Ellsworth 65-64 in a game that will forever live in the folklore of MA basketball as the game the Lynx should NEVER have lost. But that's another story for another time.
Twelve years later, in 2000, and back in Class "C", the boys lost to Penquis 67-44 in the championship game.
So, there you have it. Now, MA does have a basketball tradition, but, it seems not a lot to show for it. The girls' team, btw, lost to Calais in the Eastern Maine championship game around 1999. And, for you trivia buffs, the combined record for MA boys teams since 1952 (not including this season) is 585 wins and 467 losses.
Now you all know the short history of Mattanawcook Academy championship basketball. Now, here's a little treat for you all!, courtesy of The Lincoln Historical Society, a photo of the 1956 MA Lynx - the last MA team to go to a State Championship Basketball Game.
Front Row, left to right: Manager Paul Gulesian, Roger Holmes, Robert Walcott, Avern Danforth, Linwood Bowers, Dalton Jordan, Elliot Potter, Manager Dorance Clay. Second Row: Carroll Jones, Timothy Ludden, George Albert, Ray Coffin, David Gilpatrick, Charles Clair, Wayne Danforth, Coach Fletcher.
Postscript: On February 24, 2007, the MA Lynx boys' basketball team played in only their 6th Eastern Maine Championship game. In Bangor, they lost to Camden Hills 61-60. And the next year, on February 23, 2008 the MA Lady Lynx went to the Eastern Maine Championship game for only the second time (the other being 1999). They played a very talented undefeated Waterville team. They lost 60-40.
This is the game ball from the 1922 championship, which is now in the display case at Mattanawcook Academy.