The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


April 8, 2013

Hall of Famers deeply appreciative

CONNEAUT — The game of basketball has changed drastically from the 1980s, let alone from 1944 when Ashtabula County Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Carl Stokes was beginning his career at Deming.

“From the early ’80s, the game has changed,” inductee and St. John graduate Marianne Meola said in addressing the crowd at the 2013 ACBF Awards Dinner at the Conneaut Human Resource Center. “For a perimeter player, with the 3-point line, I would have had a higher scoring average. The shorts were short, they’re longer now.

“But the fundamentals of the game and the life lessons haven’t changed.”

Meola, who was one of the leaders of the “Davey’s Angels” teams under Dave Fowler, still uses those life lessons in her career as a district business administration vice president for banks in Florida.

“Those life lessons include the values of teamwork, respect and leadership,” she said. “Teamwork — I wouldn’t be here without those ‘Davey’s Angels’ teammates. What a year we had.

“Leadership — as a senior point guard (in 1981), I had to step up and be a leader. I had a great coach to learn from. Dave wouldn’t have called us angels. He taught us how to play hard and work.”

Inductee John Higgins, who spent 32 years as a coach before retiring, made a point of trying to teach those aspects to his athletes.

“As coaches, we stressed balance, teamwork and defense,” Higgins said in his speech. “We emphasized rebounds, assists, team steals and points — what we called team points.

“It was important to develop our athletes as players. It was more important to prepare them for life.”

Higgins went on to tell about a recent conversation he’d had with a Lakeside graduate. He had talked about how the game is more of a one-on-one game.

“He was playing with some older guys and he said, ‘the old guys play a different game,’” Higgins said. “The athletes have improved, but the game is suffering.”

There are, however, young players who still adhere to the values Meola learned as a player and Higgins had taught as a coach.

“Teamwork is the most important part of basketball,” ACBF Girls Player of the Year Natalie Thomas of Geneva said. “You can’t do anything unless the team is working together. It’s not about one single person. It’s all about the team.”

“I think basketball was a way for me to develop as a person,” Angie Zappitelli of Conneaut said. “I think it helped me mature more as a person than any other sport.”

“My goal in high school was to be a team player,” ACBF Boys Co-Player of the Year Tim Cross of Pymatuning Valley said. “(Being Co-Player of the Year) was a team accomplishment, not an individual accomplishment.

“My teammates created so many shots for me over the years. I just tried to do what it took to win. My teammates did a great job of helping me to do that.”

Carl McIlwain made a point to specifically address the young players in the crowd.

“I’d like to say to you younger people in the crowd working on making memories, practice, playhard, have fun and enjoy the game,” he said.

The overwhelming message delivered by the inductees, however, was one of thanks.

“I want to thank my coaches and teammates,” Kelly (Hitchcock) Emerine said, as she began to get tearful. “Most of all, I want to thank my parents.”

“It’s an honor to be recognized and remembered,” Tiffany Leonard said. “My parents were always there to support me.”    

The love of their sport was also conveyed.

“Though, I haven’t dribbled a ball in a lot of years, I still enjoy the game,” Meola said.

“Those were the best years of my life,” ACBF director Paul Stofan relayed in a message from Steve Hanek, who was unable to attend. “I loved basketball with a passion.”

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.

Text Only
  • BB1 Walk on the wild side

    Going into the bottom of the third inning Tuesday, things were looking pretty good for the Madison Blue Streaks at Edgewood.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rick Peck A Rich Kelly column: Rick Peck... his legacy born at CLA

    We all leave a legacy of our persona as we pass from this world to whatever the future holds for us.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • BB2 Scholastic Statistics:

    Edgewood 14, Madison 3
    at Higgins Field, Edgewood

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area High School Softball Statistical Leaders:

    INDIVIDUAL BATTING (minimum 15 at-bats)
    PLAYER    SCHOOL    AVG    OB%    SLG%    AB    R    H    2B    3B    HR    RBI    SB
    Brittany Baitt    Riverside    .645    .667    .806    31    11    20    3    1    0    8    0
    Cassidy DiFranco    Riverside    .588    .632    .647    17    7    10    1    0    0    0    0
    Alyssa Chadwick    Conneaut    .563    .630    .625    32    12    18    2    1    0    6    5
    Alyssa Irons    Jefferson    .526    .526    .632    19    5    10    0    1    0    9    2

    April 23, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Niles McKinley at Lakeside (4:30)
    Bloomfield at Conneaut (4:30)
    Maplewood at Grand Valley (4:30)
    Riverside at Edgewood (4:30)
    PV at Mathews (4:30)
    Orange at Perry (4:30)

    April 23, 2014

  • Tribe Royals crown Wahoos to split first two games

    The concerns about Indians starter Danny Salazar continue to grow.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Edgewood SB Warriors whack Struthers

    Edgewood softball coach Steve Cunha’s main focus for the season centers on his team playing well in the All-American conference. In their inaugural season as part of the AAC, the Warriors continued their strong start by defeating visiting Struthers, 8-2, on Monday afternoon.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Falcons go the extra Niles

    Jefferson coach Scott Barber knows good things usually happen when you put the ball in play and put pressure on the opposing team’s defense.

    April 22, 2014

  • Emotional rescue

    Three Ashtabula area runners joined 36,000 of their closest friends Monday during the 118th rendition of the Boston Marathon.

    April 22, 2014

  • Spartans stymied

    Ursuline pitcher Makayla Shore freely admitted she didn’t quite have her best stuff against Conneaut on Monday at Skippon Park. Despite that fact, the hurler tossed a no-hitter to beat the Spartans, 10-0.

    April 22, 2014

Sports Week in Review April 14 to 19
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 Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video