• Penny Weichel

Andrew Burda...Al Foster...Jimmy Johns...

I wrote a piece that soon will be in The Derrick/The News Herald about Mike Emick and Mark Garbacz and their scoring heroics 50 years ago in early February. Garbacz scored 52 on Feb. 5, 1971, and Emick followed with a 56-point outburst four days later.

Editor Mark Oliver planned to run this sometime this week and I said that's fine with me. Meanwhile, watch someone score 57 before it runs -- ha, ha.

Well, Venango Catholic's Andrew Burda did score 52 Jan. 25 to tie Garbacz's school record, so I fixed my story up to reflect that. No big do, and congrats to you, Andrew!

But as I was looking over the story, I ended up making a few more changes and thought about others. It occurred to me that the 51 Al Foster scored for Oil City in 1918 might be a state record.

I have a list (it's online at INDIVIDUAL HIGH SCORING EFFORTS IN BASKETBALL HISTORY (pahoops.org) of Pa. high school player who have scored 50 or more points in a game.

Looking at that list, there's no doubt Foster once held the state mark, but I was trying to figure out who would have been the first to tie and then break it.

No we come to Jimmy Johns.

According to this list, Johns, who play for Cherry Tree (a school in northwestern Indiana County that no longer exists) not only tied the record in 1947, but scored 57 points in another game that season to break it.

So off I went to newspapers.com, put Jimmy Johns' name in, and see what came up. A whole bunch of Indiana Gazettes showed on my screen with scads of stories about the exploits of Jimmy Johns.

Turns out he was quite the athlete at 5-7, 125: quick and fast. Once scored on an 85-yard run in football. Finished his career in 1948 with 993 points (if he's still alive, I bet he's talking about that 3-point line.)

But no where did any story say he scored 57 points, let alone 51. According to the paper, his high game was 39. If you go to the 50-point list, you'll see there's no attribution.

Next name I tried was Jim Maciupa who scored 51 for St. Colman, a school in Pittsburgh, but nothing came up for him.

So, I gave up trying to figure out who tied Foster's record and who would have been the first player to break it.

Something else:

Forest County seems to be the elixir of high school basketball exploits.

Burda's feat came against Forest area.

Garbacz's 55-rebound game in 1970 came against East Forest (although, now it cane be told, one follower of VC hoops disputes that; he thinks they were counting rebounds off jump balls.)

But here's three more:

Bob Burlingame, Eisenhower, 60 points vs. East Forest on Feb. 9, 1968

David Brocklehurst, Tidioute, 60 points vs. West Forest during a Christmas tourney in 1988

Dave Allenson, Eisenhower, 54 points vs. West Forest on Jan. 13, 1970

Just sayin'

Lost in the shuffle:

While Andrew Burda was cording 52 and reaching the 1,000 point milestone for VC on Jan. 25, Franklin was putting on a show at home in a losing effort against Kennedy Catholic.

The Knights found themselves down by as many as 16 points before rallying and sending the game into overtime. Make that two OTs, but it turned out to be a 92-91 loss for Franklin.

The two teams combined for 28 three-pointers -- 16 by Franklin.

Junior Easton Fulmer had six of them and finished with a career-high 37 points -- which usually rates a headline. Fulmer now has 191 points and is averaging 21.2 points per game.

Burda is averaging 23.5 points through the Vikings' first four games.

Al Foster was a member of the 1923 Grove City College team. Don't know which one of these guys was him, but he's not the guy holding the ball.

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