A wild night in New Holland

By Greg Bigam

Special to SportingPumpkin.com

This wild night in Pickaway County high school basketball was first relayed to me by the late Benis Lutz, longtime Teays Valley Superintendent. I was able to find a Circleville Herald article, summarizing a ruling on the game from the OHSAA Commissioner.

It was 1948, and Ashville was undefeated, visiting the Bulldogs of New Holland. The game was back and forth and eventually heads to overtime.

Remember, in 1948, there were no digital scoreboards. Most clocks had two moving hands and not a very loud buzzer. As overtime was ending, New Holland took the lead, 44-43.

As best as I can tell, Ashville had two seconds and took the ball out of bounds. The pass went to Bob Glick, who put up a final desperation shot that missed. The referees called a foul. In those small gyms, a half-court shot was probably like a three-point shot today.

Per the story, the New Holland “timekeeper” Homer Hill, contended the time had run out before the shot and foul. The game was over with a New Holland win. The Ashville “timekeeper” was adamant that time still remained at the point of the shot.

Evidently, the referees were going to allow the foul shots. However, by this time the floor couldn’t be cleared, and the basket was blocked so Ashville couldn’t shoot the foul shots. New Holland felt the game was over.

In the report of the Commissioner, he describes the actions of the spectators and adults as the cause of this ending. Mr. Lutz’s account described two New Holland players lifting the other up and sitting on the basket to stop Ashville’s free throws.

Either way, no foul shots were taken, and New Holland claimed a 44-43 win over unbeaten Ashville. Remember, as we review what happened later, Ashville would have had to make one foul shot to tie and two to win, as the three-point line was still decades away from being invented and incorporated into high school basketball.

According to the Circleville Herald, school officials remained late into the night at the New Holland gym.

In the end, the game result (44-43) and ending went to OHSAA Commissioner H.W. Emswiler, as Ashville officials filed a protest. Emswiler ruled that it was the responsibility of New Holland School Administration to see that the game is carried through to its completion without crowd interference, even if police assistance is needed.

Officially, the game ended Ashville 2, New Holland 0. The score of a forfeit. Would the Broncos have made the foul shots? Were there two timekeepers? I would have liked to have been in New Holland that night.

My guess is that the New Holland faithful may have had a few cold ones, celebrating late into the night that they had beaten the undefeated Broncos. In the end, it was probably the lowest scoring game ever in Pickaway County, 2-0, and Ashville remained unbeaten.

Today, Ashville is part of Teays Valley and New Holland attends Miami Trace.

Pickaway County Family YMCA
(740) 477-1661

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