‘THESE GUYS ARE SLAPPIN’ US IN THE FACE!’ — entry #16 from “A history of the events of the Allentown College’s 1972-1973 B-ball season …

Posted on Jan 26, 2013


This CENTAUR SEASONS post was written 40 years ago.

PREVIOUS GAME: Centaurs 56, Philadelphia Pharmacy 71, last night

NEXT GAME: at Spring Garden College, in five days


We lost to Pharmacy, 71-56. We were down 18 at halftime, 39-21. And we looked terrible — really, honestly terrible. We were standing around, we were forcing shots, we weren’t crashing the boards. And they were, or at least it seemed, doing everything right.


That’s what Jerry Fleming screamed at halftime when we slunk into the locker room. And he was right. Once in, I noticed that Flem was standing with his back to everybody. He told me later he was so angry he was crying. Total and complete frustration. He said that he never felt worse about a ball game than he did at halftime of this Philly Pharmacy game. And this from a guy who never plays.

For the first time all season, Coach Sabota yelled. I mean, really yelled at us. He banged lockers. He swore, He ranted. He raved.

He couldn’t have done anything better. As Coach said after the game:

“I got three facts for you. One, we outscored a team, 38-35 in the second half, after that team had beaten us by 19 in the first half. Two, we cut our turnovers in half. And three, we doubled our rebounds in the second half, as well as doubling our shooting percentage.”

There were other facts that came out later. Two guys who on Pharmacy’s team scored 14 points apiece in the first half, in the second half they scored a combined 12.

We were, to put it bluntly, a completely different team in the second half.

This was also, without doubt, the best game, or half, I have played all season: 11 rebounds, four blocked shots, one steal. I held their big boy – 6’8” – to six points in the second half. He had four rebounds in that half as well.

Coach yelled and raved and fumed. It was all a question of motivation. Even though we lost that game – we got as close as nine points, twice – that game, or at least that half, was genuinely fun to play in.

(Reminder when next we meet: Jerry Fleming and Philly Pharmacy, LAST year.)

PREVIOUS GAME: Centaurs 56, Philadelphia Pharmacy 71, last night

NEXT GAME: Spring Garden College, five days

1972-73 CENTAUR SEASON Schedule and Results:

12/1  — at Lehigh CCC — W/81-71 — 1-0

12-4 — at Northampton CCC — W/87-50 — 2-0

12-6  — EASTERN BAPTIST — L/73-75 — 2-1

12-12 — SPRING GARDEN — L/54-66 — 2-2

12-16 — PHILLY BIBLE — L/72-79 — 2-3

1-18   — at Baptist Bible — L/82-84 — 2-4

1-19  — WILMINGTON — L/56-71 — 2-5

1-25  — at Philly Pharmacy — L/56-71 — 2-6

1-30  — at Spring Garden

2-3   — at Messiah College

2-6   — at  Wilmington


2-16  — LEHIGH CCC

2-20  — MESSIAH




On January 30th, 2013 at 2:15 am, Steve McKee: Centaur Season said:

[…] ‘THESE GUYS ARE SLAPPIN’ US IN THE FACE!’ — entry #16 from “A history … […]


Welcome to CENTAUR SEASONS: A ‘memory blog’ of the basketball beginnings of a half-good, half-bad, all-new college team.

Once, I was a Centaur.

I played basketball for Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales in Center Valley, Pa. I was on four of the school’s first seven teams, was MVP senior year and in 1974 graduated in the fifth class.

My junior year I kept a diary: A History of the Events of the 1972-1973 Allentown College B-Ball Season, as Chronicled by, and With the Personal Memoirs + Occassional [sic] Philosophizing of the Author, One Stephen J. McKee.  One-hundred-forty-five hand-writ pages. (Yes, I was an English major.)

But it occurs to me now: Were I today a “Bulldog” playing for “DeSales University” (both mascot and name changed in 2000), my private “History” would be not a diary but a blog.

So starting November 30  “…Personal Memoirs…” will be re-imagined as CENTAUR SEASONS

A blog before its time, posted 40 years after in real time.

Meanwhile, beginning on September 24, here at CENTAUR SEASONS the preseason has already tipped off, with stories, interviews and reminiscences of the people, the place and the purpose of those early years of Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales.

Check back often. Sign up for CentaurSeasonAlerts. Email CENTAUR SEASONS to friends.

We were not a bad team, we Centaurs. We just weren’t very good. Winning was always the goal, if never exactly the point. How could it be, with victories so few?

Back then Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales was a couple of buildings in some cornfields.  Our commitment to the school’s basketball program was far greater than was the school’s commitment us. So what? We got to play college ball – and paid for the privilege! In return, we got to be part of a team, wear the red and blue, be Centaurs. And we got to create a place that was, right then, as much concept as it was college, making itself up as we went along.

What we got was a once-in-a-life-time chance.

All we had to do was keep showing up -- next practice, next game, next season. And so we did.