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1960 CYO Champs
Ernie Smith's fifth Crusader quintet began the 1960-1 campaign 12-1 as they entered the annual CYO tournament December 26-8 at Loyola Field House. Top guns were two juniors, G O. J. Lacour who averaged 15 ppg and F Gerry Brewer at 12 ppg.
  • West Jefferson fell easily in the tournament opener, 71-37. Brewer and senior F Joe Rink threw in 13 while senior C Henry Arceneaux contributed 12.
  • Every one of Arceneaux's 24 were needed in the 58-57 semifinal squeaker over Jesuit.
  • The Crusaders trailed De La Salle 38-37 going into Q4 of the finals. Then six straight early in the stanza put SA ahead for good. Final score: 42-35.
  • Arceneaux's 45 points in three games made him the tournament MVP. Brewer also made the all-tournament team as did a Blue Jay named Rusty Staub.
The Saders ended the season with the best record in AAA but no state crown. But that's a story for another day.
Ernie Smith
Ernie Smith
Top 100 Basketball Players

In 2003, Ron Brocato of the Clarion Herald, who has covered local prep sports for over 30 years, published his list of the top 100 New Orleans prep basketball stars. Ron broke his list into 20 teams of five, each with a coach. Here are the Crusaders who made the list, which included all metro schools, not just Catholic schools.

  • Nick Revon, G at St. Aloysius and coach at St. Aloysius and East Jefferson – 1st team, coach of the 4th team
  • Rick Robey, C Brother Martin – 1st team
  • Johnny Altobello, St. Aloysius and De La Salle – 1st team coach
  • Hal Cervini, G St. Aloysius – 3rd team
  • Dickie Brennan, F St. Aloysius – 11th team
  • Bobby Delpit, G St. Aloysius – 11th team
  • Boogie Murret, G St. Aloysius – 12th team
  • Lou Bravo, F St. Aloysius – 13th team
  • Dale Valdery, G Brother Martin – 13th team
  • Andy Russo, coach Brother Martin – 13th team coach
  • Glenn Masson, F Brother Martin – 14th team
  • Sammy Trombatore, F St. Aloysius – 15th team
  • Billy Roniger, G St. Aloysius – 15th team
  • Brother Ralph, S.C., coach St. Aloysius – 16th team coach
  • Gabe Williams, C Brother Martin – 17th team
  • Warren Duncan, G St. Aloysius – 18th team
  • Jimmy Tillette, G St. Aloysius – 19th team

Where do you think D.J. Augustin belongs if Ron updates his list some day? I say 1st team.

An Opportunity Falls Through

Note in The Aloysian by Sports Columnist Pascal Calogero during the 1948-9 school year:

"No one knows how close our Champions came to being the first city prep cage team to travel via the air lanes for a basketball game, and in a foreign country to boot! Negotiations were in the making whereby a good will tour headed by Mayor Morrison and sponsored by the city, was to find the Saints engaging in a number of cage tilts with school teams in Panama. Somehow, the plans fell through and the Saints had to be content with meeting and beating the best the city and state had to offer." Johnny Altobello's Crusaders went 18-0 that season, winning the city and state championships.

The "Old Timers" Beat the "Youngsters"

On Thursday, January 21, 1965, an Alumni Basketball Game was held at the St. Aloysius Gym. Brother Lee Barker, S.C., school president, proposed the idea. First-year Crusader basketball coach Nick Revon placed several newspaper ads calling for former players to participate. The 20 who showed up were divided into two teams: the "Old Timers" from before 1954 and the "Youngsters."

The Old Timers are shown below as pictured in The Aloysian. [The caption misspells Trombatore.]

Old Timers

The Youngsters consisted of: Jim Casabat '54, Peter Latino '55, Vince Marinello '55, Dick Pigeon '55, Gordon Terrell '58, Ed Burgard '60, Don Cassara '61, Jerry Brewer '62, Mike Giroir '63, Jules Albrecht '64.

"With some help from referee Nick Revon" (to quote The Aloysian), the Old Timers managed to sneak by the Youngsters 45-44.

Only members of the Alumni Association and their families were invited to the game. Admittance was free, and refreshments were served after the game. (No indication of how strong or soft the drinks were.)

Brother Ralph Returns
Brother Ralph
Brother Ralph, S.C.

Johnny Altobello began his coaching career at St. Aloysius in the 1946-7 school year as head coach of both basketball and baseball. His first basketball opponent, as fate would have it, was the Catholic High Bears coached by none other than the previous Crusader coach, Brother Ralph, S.C. The Saints had no problem with the visitors, 62-23, as Nick Revon tallied 19, only four less than the entire Bear team.

The teams met again later in the season in Baton Rouge. The improvement you would expect from Brother Ralph's coaching was apparent as the Saders had to overcome an eight-point second half deficit to eke out a 41-39 victory. Revon again scored 19.

In the next game, Aloysius buried Nicholls by an astounding 74-7 count. Then they clobbered Fortier 84-22. Altobello's first team finished 19-1 and captured the State Championship.

The picture and caption below are from the Times-Picayune's Dixie magazine on April 20, 1969, in the "Aloysius Album" commemorating the 100th and last year of the school.

1946-7 State Champs
A Bad Break?
Glenn Masson

From Donald Preau's sports column in The Crusader January 29, 1971:

Senior forward Glenn Masson broke his ankle in practice and would have to miss several weeks of action. When Coach [Andy] Russo made the decision to start both Furlans after Masson's injury, I honestly believed that his Coach of the Year trophies should have been taken away. Sure the Furlans were good shooters and better than average ball-handlers but where would the rebounds come from? Surely Coach was not thinking that Dale Valdery and Tommy Smith could hold their own against bona fide forwards and he had to be kidding himself to expect Gabe Williams ... to carry the team's rebounding by himself. But once again Coach Russo proved to be a better coach than I. The Furlans have made all the difference in the world. Since they have been starting, Joe is averaging 9.2 points per game and Charlie has added an 8.7 point average. Williams has started pulling down everything in sight and Smith and Valdery have at worst 'held their own' in rebounding against their taller opposition. The Furlans' quickness and speed have turned the Crusaders' slow, deliberate offense into a running team. Their shooting has filled the void left by the injury to Masson and their defense and hustle has more than made up for their lack of height.

After Rummel won the first round of district play, Masson's return helped the Crusaders capture the second round and defeat the Raiders in the playoff for the district title. Russo's cagers then won their second straight state championship.

Gabe Williams
Player-Coach

On February 5, 1954, injured senior G Bobby Stechmann coached the Crusaders in their 49-42 victory over Redemptorist in the St. Aloysius Gym. Coach M. L. Lagarde, who had "a heart attack," watched from the stands.

Stechmann, the only returning starter from the 1953 state champs, had appeared in three early games before he reinjured his knee while driving for a crucial basket against Jesuit.

Initially, it was hoped he could return for the state playoffs, but he didn't appear in another game. Lagarde was back on the bench for the next contest against league-leading De La Salle.

 

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Murray, Lagarde, Stechmann

 

 

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1960 CYO Champs

Top 100 Basketball Players

An Opportunity Falls Through

The "Old Timers" Beat the "Youngsters"

Brother Ralph Returns

A Bad Break?

Player-Coach

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