Finally a team with some height! We had two players returning from last year’s team, Dave Pyles and Ben Manchion. Mike Dotson also played some on the varsity and was also returning. We added a few more seniors, Jack Floyd, Rob Ripley, Jim Simmons and Terry Welling. We also picked up Gary Hussey from Port Angeles. Port Angeles had lost a levy and the parents asked him where wanted to go. His response was “I want to go to East.” He liked the way we played and he was very very quick and so he came down. It also helped that he was left handed. We had three juniors on the team, Marc Soriano, Mark Bratonia and Jerry Gundlefinger. And for only the second time since the start of East High school we had a sophomore full time on the team, Steve Boyce. He was about 6’4”. I thought I’d have to sleep with him to keep him warm so he didn’t catch cold. I never had a guy that big. And he was a very good player and he could play the game.
Soriano could shoot the ball and was about 6’3”. That was big for then. He was a very good tennis player and he could play the game. He got a scholarship at Seattle U to play there. He played his freshman year and then he went on to medical school. I remember Louie Soriano would tape and review each game of Marc’s performance. It almost got to be too much for Marc.
Bratonia couldn’t shoot the ball as he was not a basketball player. He didn’t pretend to be. He was a football player but boy he could knock people around. Manchion was the first foreigner I ever coached. He was from Iceland and he was a good kid. I liked him very much. Simmons, he was fast. Floyd transferred in from somewhere. He was a pretty good player for us as well and he was a pretty good football player too. He was tough and he was a very likeable young man. Gundlefinger could shoot the ball too.
I can remember Dotson was not scoring worth a darn and the fact is he was doing more sitting than he was playing. His dad, Bob, was a referee and a really great basketball player. He came by and said, “I’m not questioning you but why doesn’t he play?” And I said, “Well we play Mike at the forward and I can get more rebounds sitting on the bench here than he gets and unless he rebounds, he’s no good to me. I got other kids who can shoot.” So we go down and we play Shelton and don’t you know Dotson went out of his head. Somebody got hurt and I put Dotson in, he was the first substitute. He got about 10 boards and he was all over the floor. So as I go outside, here’s ole Bob peeling off dollar bills. One dollar for every rebound! I found out I had the wrong technique for making them rebound!
The starters were Boyce and Soriano and Hussey and Pyles and that was a terrific backcourt; one left handed and one right handed; they could go! And then I think it varied between Gundlefinger and Dotson. Simmons and Floyd were used in reserve. Manchion was an excellent player and a pretty cool cat.
We were 14 and seven. That even included playing the Alums again this year. We take them when you can get them. I don’t remember but I can remember though that quite frequently some kid would come who was playing college ball and you were always afraid you were gonna lose. We started out the year playing Peninsula College and the Olympic frosh. We beat them both. I don’t remember what happened that added them to our schedule but we were probably looking for games. They were undoubtedly good games as we scored lots of points. We also played Mercer Island. I think they had Hawes on that team. The West games were two tight games. We won the first by three and the second game by only two points. We lost both games to Central; this is the year that Central got first in State. They had Bill Damshen on the team. He was tough and they had another guard that was very good too. They had excellent material. What was really discouraging was that we lost to Bainbridge and we lost to them again in the playoffs by only three points.