Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Central High School basketball squad was "small but scrappy" in 1942

On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor, causing the United States to enter World War II. During the 1941-42 school year, students at Madison Central High School experienced “ a definite trend toward defense education,” according to the 1942 Mirror Magazine, which served as a yearbook that year. “Class schedules were changed in order to allow for new courses,” noted the magazine’s editors.

Many other things changed at Central during that year, including the nature of the auditorim programs. And school clubs and organizations chose defense activities to work on during the school year.

The 1941-42 school year also saw Central’s football and basketball teams bringing home honors: both won Big Eight championships. The image below, from the 1942 Mirror Magazine, shows the members of the 1941-42 basketball squad, but the photograph does not have a caption. I hope some of you will be able to supply the identities of these young men. Please leave a comment or send an email if you can help.

I have transcribed the text on the page and entered it below the image, so I could add some links, and so that people searching for the members of the squad might be able to locate this post.

Double click on the above image to enlarge it in your browser window

Madison Central possessed the strongest basketball squad in southern Wisconsin during the 1941-42 season. This team was one of the greatest teams in Madison in the last two decades.

The Orange and Black team was small but scrappy. They won the Big Eight championship, city championships, and the Beaver Dam regional championship, thus proving beyond doubt that they were the champs of southern Wisconsin.

"There is no doubt that Dom Schiro ranked as the outstanding player on the squad," Coach Diehl commented, "but we hit upon five boys with good speed and ability to play the game. They fitted together and thought together as all champions do."

The following boys were letter winners: Warren Colwill, senior, who played reserve forward; Ora Cox, senior, reserve forward; Edwin Helmicks, senior, all-city second team, regular forward; Nick Gandolph, senior, regular guard, all-city second team, one of the best guards in the conference; Dom Schiro, senior, regular center, all-city first team, all-state first team, one of the best centers in the state; Clayton Allen, junior, regular forward, all-city second team; Paul Berg, junior, regular guard, all-city first team; Lee Sanders, junior, reserve guard; Peter DiMartino, sophomore, reserve guard. Other boys on the squad were: John Brausen, George Schiro, Jeff Quin, Bob Nee, Chris Joseph, Dick Wagner, Dick Springman, Donald Burwell, Lafern Opsal, Bob Nelson, Isaiah Carthron, and George Capadona.

The Beaver Dam game was outstanding. The team was a strong as any other played. Beaver Dam was taller and heavier than the small boys of Central. Many sports writers picked this team to win the state tournament in mid-season.

The squad worked hard because they were slated as a second division team. Coach Diehl had little to work with because of losses by graduation last year. A great deal of the credit for this year's succes in basketball belongs to the coach, Mr. Diehl, as fine a coach as may be found.

Prospects for next year's team look bright with four letter men returning plus many good "B" team boys.

The boys Central will lose are: Dom Schiro, Ed Helmicks, Nick Gandolph, Tom Marsh, Warren Colwill, and Ora Cox.

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