The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


January 1, 2014

A Don McCormack column: County-wide galas

For almost four decades, Ashtabula County came together for high school basketball tournaments

As we flip our calendars ahead to 2014 as we bid adieu to 2013, wouldn’t it be an extremely edifying experience if we could, at least in our minds and our hearts, flip it backward?

As in, a half-century, or so?

Consider, Loyal Readers, there are presently eight schools in Ashtabula County that field high school boys basketball teams -- Conneaut, Edgewood, Geneva, Grand River Academy, Grand Valley, Jefferson, Lakeside, Pymatuning Valley and St. John -- seven, of which also field girls squads, save for Grand River Academy.

Now, imagine, if you will, if all eight boys teams and all seven girls squads convened in one place to take part in an Ashtabula County Tournament.

Considering the fractured relationships in terms of conference affiliations that exists between county schools, it sounds like a pipe dream, I know.

However, for the younger generation, which is probably not aware, the exact scenario played out each and every year, for decades, generations, in fact.

Back in time

Even before the 20th century began, there was high school basketball -- boys and girls -- being played in Ashtabula County.

In fact, our research documents high school games being played as early as 1896.

By the time 1900 rolled around, games were being held all across the county.

When the 1917-18 season began, Ashtabula County Tournaments began to be held.

Girls and boys tournaments were contested, mostly at Jefferson (at the now-demolished Jefferson Elementary building, which served as the high school in town through the 1960-61 school year) or at Braden Junior High.

Interestingly, using the phrase the tournaments were "staged" at those locations could be taken literally as both arenas had the playing surface up on a stage in an auditorium setting.

Girls tournaments were as well attended as the boys, at least until the Ohio High School Athletic Association decided to do away with high school sports for girls after the 1937-38 school year, mostly because, believe it or not, "strenuous sporting activity was not lady like." That’s a bit of a paraphrase, but the stated mumble-jumble rationale was akin to that. State tournaments were not put in place for girls sports until the 1975-76 school year.

Meanwhile, the boys tournaments were held in the county through the 1956-57 school year.

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  • Spartans knock around Dragons

    After being cooped up in gymnasiums for the better part of the season so far, the Conneaut and Lakeside softball teams were just happy to get onto a diamond. Playing for the first time in nearly a week, the Spartans toppled the Dragons, 11-2, Thursday afternoon at Lakeside.

    April 18, 2014

  • PV can’t get past Mathews

    Thursday afternoon at Pymatuning Valley, the visiting Mathews Mustangs were able to do what every coach hopes for — execute. They played a clean game from start to finish in every facet of the game, and that carried the Mustangs to an 8-2 Northeastern Athletic Conference victory.

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Matthews 8, PV 2
    at PV

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Geneva at Edgewood (11)
    Niles McKinley at Edgewood (5)
    Conneaut at Lakeside (4:30)
    Madison at Euclid (4:30)
    Madison at Edgewood (4:30)
    Geneva at Mentor (10, DH)
    Conneaut at Madison (4)

    April 18, 2014

  • Justin Butler Justin time

    It was just four short years ago that Justin Butler was spending his fall on a soccer field.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: ‘Kids’ stuff’ spurs great responses

    I’m often caught more than a bit off-guard by what stories, features or columns generate responses from you, Loyal Readers, much more so than those who do not.
    For example, the column that appeared in this space a couple of days ago regarding things yours truly and my buddies did as kids prompted more than a few responses.
    A sampling, many of which were posted on my Facebook page:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • kyle GANG GREEN

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scholastic Schedule:

    Grand Valley at Maplewood (4:30)
    St. John at Lawrence (4:30)
    Mathews at PV (4:30)
    Fairport at Perry (7:30)
    West Geauga at Madison (4:30)
    Harvey at Riverside (4:30)
    Jefferson at Harding (5)

    April 16, 2014

  • Olivia In transition

    Pymatuning Valley graduate Olivia Holt had a distinct reason she chose to play basketball for Mount Union.
    “They do have tradition,” Holt, the daughter of Gus and Michelle Holt, said. “I’m from PV. We had a tradition of winning and working hard there. I wanted to go somewhere that tradition mattered. I knew I was going to get better by coming here.”

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: Spring has sprung one big leak

    Paying a Wednesday morning visit to the variety store...

    Think spring?
    If this, um, err, uh... spring... feels a bit unusual for high school baseball and softball teams in Northeast Ohio, it is, to a point.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

Sports Week in Review April 7-12
Spring Sports Practice in Ashtabula County
2014 AP BB Tourney Top 25
2014 AP BB Tourney Scoreboard
2014 AP BB Tourney News
2014 AP BB Tourney Photos
Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic
Girls Regional Basketball Action
Week of Champions
Sports Week in Review February 21, 22
Grand Valley at Edgewood Boys Basketball
Sports Week in Review Feb. 3 to 8
Sports Week in Review January 30 to Feb. 1
Sports Week in Review January 13-18
Sports Week in Review January 10 and 11
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video