The Central Basketball League collapsed just a week before the 1912-13 season was scheduled to get underway. The league could never overcome its lack of strong local identity. The need to import high-salaried players forced the league to play an elongated schedule that never was fully supported. A minor league circuit, the Western Pennsylvania Basketball League, composed strictly of local players, was formed to take up the slack. South Side won the initial pennant.
The Eastern Basketball League snapped up the best players from the defunct CBL, with three squads transferring into the Eastern League virtually intact. Andy Sears’ Uniontown crew took over the Reading franchise, while Joe Fogarty’s CBL champion Johnstown squad moved to De Neri and the Charleroi players took over in Camden. In a carbon copy of last year’s CBL struggle, Reading depended on its smothering defense (they allowed only 24 points a game versus a league average of 30 points per game) to challenge De Neri’s productive offense. With one game left in the season, both teams were tied for the top spot with identical 29-10 records. In the last game, George Morris limited De Neri star Joe Fogarty to just one shot in forty minutes of play, to assure Reading of the victory and the season’s title. Harry Hough was at the peak of his considerable powers and Al Cooper performed with amazing efficiency in his l7th pro season. The defending champion Trenton squad, nevertheless, found it impossible to compete against the increased strength of the Reading and De Neri teams and finished a distant third. Jasper slumped to fourth place. Ex-Central Leaguers Bill Kummer and Dutch Wohlfarth were fine additions, but the play of longtime Jasper star Jack Donohue was disappointing. Weak teams in Camden and Greystock brought up the rear.
The Troy Trojans won their fourth consecutive pro title as they outclassed their New York State BasketballLeague competition for the second year in a row. The Trojans jumped out to a big lead they never relinquished. The starting lineup of Ed Wachter, Chief Muller, Jack Inglis, Andy Suils, and Jack Noll was a peerless combination. Inglis, on of the league’s best all-around players, also emergened as the league’s top scorer. A new team in Gloversville put together a first-rate club by signing CBL veterans Roy Steele, Kid Dark, and Mio Boggio. Their skills, combined with a strong performance by center Dick Leary, allowed Gloversville to capture second place. Finishing one game back in third place was Kingston, headed by high-scoring Jimmy Clinton.
For the first time in history, a world series conducted by the leagues was played. Twice before championship series had been played (1908 and 1911) between league champions, but in both cases they were informal affairs arranged by the players. The series between the Reading Bears, the EBL champion and the Troy Trojans, the NYSL champion, was handicapped by the considerable differences in the rules and style of play between the two leagues. The teams split the first four games of the series, with each contest won by the home team playing under its own rules. A coin toss determined Reading as the site of the fifth and deciding game. Playing under NYSL rules, Troy enjoyed a 12-5 halftime lead. Switching to EBL rules in the second half, Reading rallied behind the foul-shooting prowess of Andy Sears and prevailed 31-29. Although the problems with rules were distracting, the series was well received and proved an enormous financial success and a thoroughly satisfying conclusion to the season.