1915-1916

Greystock, a team that had finished below .500 for the past three seasons, was the surprise winner of the Eastern Basketball League. The Greys were never out of first place after they opened the season with six consecutive wins. The mid-season acquisition of Joe Fogarty from De Neri provided the team with the final ingredient for its championship season. He joined veteran scorer Mike Wilson, ex-New York State Basketball League star Lou Sugarman, and rookie center Jack Lawrence. With Andy Sears still in high gear, Reading finished second to the Greys, four games behind the leaders. Camden led the league in scoring by a wide margin (34 points a game versus a league average of 26 per game), but a porous defense limited them to a third-place finish. DeNeri, despite the presence of young stars Johnny Beckman and Swede Grimstead, finished fourth; the biggest disappointment of the season was the inability of Barney Sedran and Marty Freidman to raise the fortunes of the Jasper club beyond fifth place.

The Pennsylvania State Basketball League enjoyed a strong sophomore season. From the original franchises, only Tamaqua did not return. The league expanded to eight teams by admitting new teams in Carbondale, Scranton, and Plymouth. Many former New York State League players, including virtually all the stars of the perennial champion Troy Trojans, joined the circuit. The enhanced quality of play spurred fan interest, and attendance soared with five teams in the race until late in the season. Wilkes-Barre, with a late season string of victories, won the championship. Veteran Philadelphia stars Sam Curlett and Willie McCarter led the Barons to the title. Freeland, with a team composed entirely of local players, was a surprise second place finisher. Nanticoke, despite the presence of former Troy stars Lew Wachter and Dick Leary, had to settle for a third place tie with Carbondale, led by another ex-Trojan, Jack Inglis.

The Interstate Basketball League, with teams in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, was formed in the summer of 1915 with twenty-seven year old John O’Brien as president. The league staggered through a financially turbulent season. The youthful O’Brien exhibited the management skills that would earmark his forty-year professional basketball career, as he steadfastly ¬†held the struggling league together through its four-month season. Despite box office problems, the action on the court was top-notch, culminating in a dazzling post-season playoff series between first-half winner Kingston, and Paterson, winner of the second half. After splitting the first four games, the deciding fifth game was staged before a capacity crowd of over 4,000 fans in Jersey City. Paterson played flawless ball throughout the first half. The Crescents’ attack, featuring the inside play of Chris Leonard, and the passing and shooting skills of Johnny Beckman, blitzed Kingston for a 19-6 intermission lead. Kingston, behind the inspirational play of Frank Bruggy, went on a 10-1 scoring binge to draw to within two baskets. Paterson’s better-balanced team, however, prevailed in the end to give the Crescents the title.

In an unusual burst of cooperation, the three major leagues agreed to a post-season series of games to determine an undisputed professional champion. The flaw in this agreement was the inability of the circuits to agree on a uniform code of rules. Instead, each game was played under the rules set by the home team. The impossibility of this format became quickly apparent as Greystock, the EBL ¬†champion, split a pair of dull, lopsided home court games with IBL champion Paterson. The Crescents forfeited the deciding third game scheduled on third game on Greystock’s homecourt, rather than suffering another beating. Wilkes-Barre, the PSL league representative, then ousted Paterson from the championship with two straight decisive wins. The season then drew to a frustratingly indecisive conclusion when Wilkes-Barre and Greystock could not settle on a format for the finals.

CENTRAL MASSACHUSETTS BASKETBALL LEAGUE

EASTERN BASKETBALL LEAGUE

ESSEX COUNTY BASKETBALL LEAGUE

INTERCOUNTY BASKETBALL LEAGUE

INTERSTATE BASKETBALL LEAGUE

NEW YORK STATE BASKETBALL LEAGUE

PENNSYLVANIA STATE BASKETBALL LEAGUE

WORLD SERIES

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