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The Blue Creek Comets of 1954 - Part 6 PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, March 13, 2014 12:14 PM

County champs win district semi final over Wren 57-56


Special to the Progress

Part 6 of 7


It happens every year in February. The sunsets are different – brighter. Days are longer. Winter is practically over. High school fans are ready for the tournament games. Will there be upsets? Will league leaders continue to win?

The opening game was Tuesday, Grover Hill beat Antwerp. On Thursday, Grover Hill beat an improved Payne team 52 to 45. At the 8:45 p.m. game, Blue Creek faced Oakwood. Winner plays Grover Hill in finals on Saturday night.

Tournament game #1: Blue Creek 79 Oakwood 54 (17-3).

Comets do it again – twice

First five in double digits

An Ohio state record (unauthenticated by the OHSAA). The Ohio Association simply had no teams and no category for scoring in five-double-digits. Blue Creek was an exception in Class B Ohio basketball. The Comets scored two “five double-digit” games and 12 “four double-digit” games in the same year. Both feats were unheard of before 1954.

Here in the Oakwood game, the Comets did it with a backup sophomore center Charlie Hart. He replaced the injured Ken Zimmerman. So much for Charlie’s 140 pounds at 6’3”. He helped set a scoring record as Blue Creek wins its first tournament game in 1954 by 25 points.

Comets points: Walt Sinn 20, Charlie Hart 16, Dennis Doster 14, Gerald Sinn 11, Max Pease 10 (all double-digits).


There was confusion among the Comets. Ken Z. was shooting baskets in practice. He wanted to play. Ned Jay was still helpless, Ken’s mom and doctor had the last word. That was until Max Pease went home to tell his dad about it. Otis Pease got into the mix. He wanted a second opinion – Jay agreed. They talked Mom into it.

By noon on Friday, Otis, Ned and Ken Z. were in Fort Wayne. The opinion of the bone specialist was fast. It was a small quick-heal bone, in the lower hand, the doctor said. “Yes, play ball.”

Ken was in uniform at Saturday night’s Paulding County basketball finals at 8 p.m. (February 17, 1954.)


Fans from every town in Paulding County were in the crowd that night. The glow in the gym was the people; in orange and black (Grover Hill Hornets) and scarlet and grey (Blue Creek Comets).

The hum of the crowd was only overcome by the familiar sound of the charming cheerleaders. Their names were Jeannine, Ruby, Noreda and Cary for the Comets. The Hornets girls were Greta, Marian and Rosealie.

Their energy was excitement for the players. Their presence added meaning to victory. These girls gave it their all – they got through to the varsity. “We liked them and needed them” was the protected opinion of the guys in the games though no high school jock could ever show such emotion. But it’s important for the guys to say thanks, girls, for all the years and all the teams in Paulding County and for all basketball teams in America.

The Comets’ fans rose to the surprise of seeing center Ken Zimmerman in the tip-off circle, back in uniform. Ken Z. checked with Gerald, who nodded yes, the first-five was ready. The ref tossed up the ball. It was two points in four seconds. The exciting Blue Creek Comets were back.

Team members meet at center court to receive the trophy for being named Paulding County champions. From left – Ken Zimmerman, Gerald Sinn, Max Pease, Walt Sinn, Dennis Doster and Harold Sinn.


Tournament game #2: Blue Creek 51 Grover Hill 47 (18-3).

Grover Hill had winning in mind in the first-half – but it didn’t stop there. They were the Comets’ toughest opponent in league play. The Hornets led by 15 to 9 in the first quarter; the Comets always led in the first quarter.

Ken Zimmerman’s hand was holding up, he kept Hornets center Jim Ladd’s points in line – a difficult task. The Hornets were using a tough man-to-man defense, the score was low. It was the Hornets 24 to 22 at half time. The Comets led for the first time in the third quarter 38 to 36. Dennis Doster put in 18 points for high scorer in the game. Injured Ken Z’s game was strong, scoring 13 points. Good news for the Comets and thanks to Otis Pease.

Strange risk: Ned Jay pulled his varsity off the floor for celebration with 1 minute 30 seconds to go. Which meant the Comets had no defense on the floor. An upset was still in the making – Grover Hill made a charge, down only six points. The two two-point tip-offs saved the game –  COMETS WIN by four points, 51 to 47.


The Comets would now go into the Celina basketball district high school championships with momentum as one of the top teams in Ohio State basketball. Their three losses would make them underdogs, but their 18 wins competed among the state’s leaders. The Comets’ first-five in double-digits was something unknown to the other teams. Seven years of top basketball coaching experience would also make a difference.

Tournament game #3: Blue Creek 57 Wren 56 (19-3).

This was an exciting game. The Comets literally crushed Wren in November, doubling the score 54-27, a 27-point win. It was also happening at Celina, in the divisional. The Comets were up 19-10 in the first quarter. At half time they were up nine points, holding Wren to 22 points. Both teams scored well in the third period; 20 for the Comets, 17 for the Eagles. The Comets were up by 12 points, allowed only 39 points, 51 to 39, ready to cruise in for the win.

Then came Wren’s surprise guard, Gene Baker. He was a senior and didn’t want to end his season that night. He got away from the Comets and scored 13 points in five minutes – then fouled out. His damage nearly sunk Blue Creek, who led by one point in the last five seconds.

In fact, a split second made the difference. The Eagles’ center, lefty Dean Lichensteiger, took a long hook-shot and hit the net, but was ruled too late by the officials.

Gerald remembered, “He was too tall for me to stop him, but I put my hands over his eyes to block his sight. He still saw the basket. The clock was on our side.”

Comets win, 57 to 56.

“When Max Pease hit a foul shot in the first quarter, the Paulding County champions held the lead the rest of the game.” (Van Wert Times).

Walt Sinn hit 12 foul shots and four field goals for 20 game points, Gerald Sinn hit five field goals for 10 points. Only two Comets in double-digits. Dennis and Ken each with nine, and Max with seven points. Tip-off points won again, four points, four seconds. Blue Creek advanced to the semifinals.

Next week: In the final chapter, the Comets duel St. John’s as the season comes to a close.

© Gerald Sinn 2014

e-mail: jerpro@msn.com


County Champs win district semi final over Wren 57-56 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 10:10 PM


Special to the Progress

Part 6 of 7



It happens every year in February. The sunsets are different – brighter. Days are longer. Winter is practically over. High school fans are ready for the tournament games. Will there be upsets? Will league leaders continue to win?

The opening game was Tuesday, Grover Hill beat Antwerp. On Thursday, Grover Hill beat an improved Payne team 52 to 45. At the 8:45 p.m. game, Blue Creek faced Oakwood. Winner plays Grover Hill in finals on Saturday night.

A flower with a powerful smell... PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 4:23 PM

In botanical gardens around the nation, garden enthusiasts and curiosity seekers are flocking to see – and smell – exotic voodoo lilies, which are in bloom right now. Sherri Black, who resides on Road 171 near Five Span, has a massive voodoo lily corm in full bloom.

“This was given to me by my cousin and is a native of Thailand, China and Indonesia. The lily’s bloom smells like rotting flesh to attract bees and flies to pollinate,” Black says. “The stench is unreal, but this truly is an amazing plant to see.”

Sherri Black's voodoo lily, currently in bloom.

Friends and neighbors have been marveling at the 4-foot-tall, cone-shaped stalk surrounded by a blood-red frill.

“She truly is a gorgeous lily right now, and will be blooming for a couple more days. The flower will die off. If you plant it outside in the spring, it grows and it produces a palm tree look in the summer months.”

Voodoo lilies, or Amorphophallus konjak, are also called devil’s tongue, snake palm or elephant yam.

Red Cross of Paulding County to hold open house March 13 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 4:19 PM


PAULDING – March is nationally recognized as American Red Cross month. In celebration, an open house will be held from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on March 13 at the Paulding office.

Do you know where the Red Cross office is located in Paulding? Not many people do, so this is a great opportunity for residents to stop in, get acquainted with the local volunteers, ask questions and learn about the services provided by the agency.

Located at 211 N. Main St. in the First Financial Bank building, the American Red Cross of Paulding County has been an integral part of the community for many years.

Rick Noggle, current Disaster Action Team chairman, said the volunteer-rich agency is one of the county’s best-kept secrets.

Red Cross members and staff met with Randy Shaffer, Paulding County EMA director, in February to discuss potential bad-weather scenarios and what each agency’s role would be in the event of a tornado, flood, high wind or snowstorm. Seated are, from left – Sandy Lane, Community Chapter Executive of American Red Cross of Van Wert and Paulding counties; Kristy Bidlack, board member of Van Wert County Red Cross; Rick Noggle, Paulding County Disaster Action Team (DAT) chairman; and Randy Shaffer, EMA director. Standing are Phil Wells, Paulding County DAT volunteer; Jennifer Messana, disaster program manager of the Northwest Ohio Region of American Red Cross; and Mark Klausing, Van Wert County DAT chairman.

“I’ve talked to a good number of people who aren’t even aware that Red Cross has a presence in the county,” he said. “I guess if they’ve never needed our services, they’re just not aware of our existence.”

The American Red Cross of Paulding County receives a portion of its funding from United Way. The funds provide services and assistance to people in the county regardless of their socioeconomic status when they are in need of emergency aid following tornadoes, fires, floods or high-wind damage.

“So far this year, we’ve had eight fires in the county,” Noggle added. “Some of them have been minor, but most have been large and have caused partial or total loss of the victims’ homes. We’ve provided emergency assistance, such as temporary housing and help with food and clothing, to all of them who needed it. It makes us feel good to be able to help families get back on their feet.”

In May, the Paulding County EMA and Red Cross will be participating in a full-scale mock disaster involving a fire at an agricultural and chemical storage facility. Both Noggle and EMA director Randy Shaffer say they’re looking forward to the exercise and gaining experience in setting up command stations and shelters and working with other emergency-response agencies in the county.

If you would like more information about Red Cross or the open house, would like to become a volunteer, or have any questions about the American Red Cross of Paulding County, call 419-399-3557 or visit the office.


Oakwood resident asks council for better community event planning PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 7:48 AM


By BILL SHERRY • Progress Correspondent

OAKWOOD – Oakwood Village Council held a regular meeting on March 10, 2014 with four council members present. Absent for tonight’s meeting were Todd Dangler and Heather Huff. Newly appointed councilman Beau Leatherman was sworn in to fill the seat vacated by Phil Stucky.

Payne approves pager trade in, parking limits PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 7:45 AM

By JOE SHOUSE • Progress Correspondent

PAYNE – Payne Village Council met on Monday, March 10. Council approved trading in four EMS pagers, approved the ordinance establishing two hour parking limits within the village of Payne, and approved the property liability insurance premium for 2014.


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