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BASKETBALL CHAMPS

Contributor Bro Kilian (Teacher and Basketball Coach)

1962 - 1964

Simon Wong asked me if I would write an article for the Newsletter on Basketball at St.Bernard's. Sadly my memory has faded and I am unable to recall all the team members’ names and very little of each game. It is, after all, almost fifty years ago!

I was appointed to the staff at St.Bernard’s in 1962. Previously I had spent my first seven years of teaching at Cootamundra. It was there that I was introduced to basketball and subsequently played for and coached the town team. Sixteen of my young charges made state teams and we won the Under 14 State Championship during that period. Basketball was in my blood! While minding the boarders, especially on weekends, I asked if any boys might be interested in learning the game. Having observed the boys' natural ability and keenness to learn I prevailed upon Bro Leo to let us enter a team in the town competition. As the students involved were mostly senior, Bro Leo was not too keen on the boys missing homework time. Students were warned that if they skipped homework their position in the team was in jeopardy. Fortunately, all team members were model students!

Simon reliably informs me that we won two consecutive A Grade competitions, 1963 and 1964, that were played in the Katoomba High School Gymnasium. He still has the trophies from those years in Hong Kong! Does he polish them each day? While we may have had a young side the team was bolstered by ‘Big’ Bro Anthony, Bigger Bro Dominic, and Bro Kilian while Gerard Martin and Alex Vari were well over six feet even as students.

We were not to be intimidated by playing against men. Size was not a problem but more importantly we had a whiz bang player, Albert Shih, whose dribbling skills and ability to shoot accurately made him the star of the competition. Our height under the baskets enabled us to be in control both in attack and defence. We also had the advantage of being able to practise in recess times, develop good understandings, and rehearse our patterns of play more so than the town teams. School Spirit was evident.

The termination of the boarding section of the College and loss of senior players in 1964 enabled other town teams to successfully aspire to future Championships! Team members according to Simon’s memory included, Alex Vari, Albert Shih, Gerard Martin, Bro Dominic, Bro Anthony, Tommy Leong, Simon Wong, Patrick Monroe, John O’Connor, Bro Kilian.

[John Walch added the following names: Weston Liao, Michael Carmody and Noel Healy (from an earlier group).]


Photos on this page are of the 1948 Athletics Team - courtesy of Terry Ibbott (ex-Student and Old Boy) as we are still waiting on any surviving basketball team photos to be donated.




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