PATTEN, Maine (WAGM) – It was 75 years ago that the Patten Academy team pulled off an upset for the ages they won the New England Basketball Championship stopping Boston Latin to claim the title. Last week the 1947 team was honored at the Cross Insurance Center. Thurston Townsend was a member of the team and was given a standing ovation on Friday night. I interviewed Thurston back in 2007 on the 60th anniversary of the championship and over the next two nights we will go back in the time machine and play the two stories that were aired in 2007. The first one is about the Patten Academy team traveling all over the County to practice.
Thurston Townsend:” We would drive to caribou and practice. we would drive to Presque Isle and play the future farm team and we would drive to Lincoln and travel anywhere that anyone would agree to play us”
Thurston Townsend still has the scrapbook showing he success of the team. Many players on the team didn’t even start playing basketball until they got to high school, but hard work earned them respect and a title.
Townsend :” we had a group of men that came back from World War 2 and they would be around and not do anything in the afternoon and they would scrimmage against us.
Stand up: The team captured the imagination of the people of the patten area and played to full houses.
Townsend ” always full completely full it was the only thing going at the time we were talking 47 just after the war. and there was no gras you couldn’t travel no cars so everyone in town supported you.”
Townsend said many of the gyms at the time were only half the size of current facilities.
Townsend ”. And the center circle they overlapped it wasn’t very big we played in Oakfield you would jump and touch the ceiling. we played in Sherman they a balcony that a tall man would almost bump his head on. Hodgdon they had the best of anybody and in Merrill and the small hall there.
Patten academy took on all comers and would travel anywhere and anytime.
Townsend: As many as we could. we had 17 scheduled, but we always played many more than that and many didn’t show in the records, we would play every night if we could
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