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Grit March 19, 1972: Bishop Neumann Brings State ‘C’ Title to City – In Coach Gary Koons’ First Year

Area scholastic basketball for 1971-1972 came to a dazzling finish during the last week when five Greater Williamsport basketball teams went to the wire in district compete and one of them—Bishop Neumann grabbed a state championship.

The Knights whose first-year coach, Gary Koons may be wondering what to do for an encore, waded through all opposition in PCIAA Class C competition and won the state championship at Harrisburg’s Farm Show Arena Wednesday night with a rousing 70-64 conquest of Bradford Central Christian Catholic High School.

Bishop Neumann’s historic “first” came on the fourth try in a PCIAA title contest and it signaled a rousing welcome celebration at the school Wednesday night upon the team’s return from Harrisburg.

Twice under Charley Blackburn, and once under Frank Sullivan, a Williamsport team, then known as St. Joseph’s, reached the finals and each lost. Blackburn’s 1963 and 1964 editions and Frank Sullivan’s 1965 aggregation, all lost by a total point spread of six points in the three contests.

The Rev. Francis J. Castellano, moderator of athletics at Bishop Neumann, long with Coach Gary Koons, received the championship trophy, emblematic of the state title, and it is now on display at the three-year-old school.

Meanwhile, in the inter-district play in the complicated new PIAA playoffs in all three classes resulted in all local and district entries being eliminated.

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