Piqua Catholic hoopsters made history in 1964

Last updated: March 18. 2014 5:22PM - 860 Views
By Michael Ullery



A page from the 1964 Ohio High School Athletic Association, Class A, state basketball program featuring the Piqua Catholic Cavaliers, who competed in the state final four.
A page from the 1964 Ohio High School Athletic Association, Class A, state basketball program featuring the Piqua Catholic Cavaliers, who competed in the state final four.
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Editor’s Note: This is a recap of the 1963-64 Piqua Catholic boys basketball teams run to the Final Four.


Sports Editor Rob Kiser talked to some of the players and coach DeNari about the season, which will run Thursday.


By Duane Bachman


For The Call


When Piqua Catholic basketball coach Bob Denari looked at his 1963-64 roster, he had a feeling that this could be a special year for the Cavaliers, a sentiment he shared with Athletic Director Bob Heil.


Denari welcomed five returning lettermen, three of them starters on the 1962-63 team that finished with 14 wins in 22 outings. The roster included seniors Dave Bornhorst, John DeBrosse, Mike Jacomet, Dick Caulfield, Jerry Richard and Val Decker. The juniors, Jim Hayes, Jack Grau, Mike Mayberry, Tim Wallace, Mike Koon and Jim Holly completed the squad that opened the season with a convincing win over Ansonia.


“Piqua Catholic romped over Ansonia in its 1963-64 season opener at Catholics gym 96-59. The Cavaliers got off to a good start for the season and the Ansonia Tigers really never threatened the Piqua five. Well balanced scoring was the big factor in coach Bob Denari’s opening win. Every member of the team scored for the Cavaliers, with DeBrosse and Hayes leading the attack. DeBrosse and Hayes accounted for 55 of the 96 points scored by the Cavaliers. DeBrosse had a big 34 points and Hayes came up with 21.”


“The Piqua Catholic Cavaliers were upended by the Meadowdale Lions at the latter’s home floor last night, 80-67. This was the first loss of the season for the Cavaliers, and gives Coach Bob Denari a 1-1 record. The Cavaliers got into foul trouble early in the game as starting center Dave Bornhorst had four fouls at half time. The loss of Jim Hayes made matters worse for the Cavaliers. Although he managed to stay in the game until the last quarter, he accumulated four fouls early in the contest. With Catholic in foul trouble the Lions took advantage of the situation and piled up a 15 point lead at half time.”


“Piqua Catholic’s Cavaliers won their second game of the campaign Saturday night at New Paris Jefferson, 84-70. Although the Cavaliers margin was 14 points the game was actually closer than the score indicates. Catholic was down one point at half time and did not really break the game open until the last quarter when the Cavaliers pumped in 23 points to the Hornets 13.”


“Piqua Catholic slid past Xenia Woodrow Wilson at Xenia Friday night, 50-41, breaking open a close contest in the last quarter. Last night’s game was one of those times when no one could do anything right, and the half time score indicates this. Both teams were very ‘cold’ and could produce only 50 points between them after two quarters. Both played fair defensively, and Jim Day held John DeBrosse to 21 points, 14 below his average. Finally, midway through the fourth frame, the Cavaliers started to grab off most of the rebounds and this was the turning point of the game.”


“Coach Bob Denari’s Piqua Catholic Cavaliers made it three straight Saturday night at Bradford as they defeated the Railroaders 75-54. The win was the fourth for the Cavaliers in five starts. Catholic did a good job all ‘round.


“The Piqua five controlled the board all evening, and three of the five starters hit in double figures. The defense was sound as the Cavaliers held Bradford to 54 points. Bradford’s previous record was the same as the Cavaliers, 3-1.


“DeBrosse again led the Piqua attack with a 31 point performance. Hayes turned in 19 points. He was also the mainstay in the rebounding department for Catholic. Bornhorst had 15 points for the Cavaliers.”


“Piqua Catholic thumped Sidney Holy Angels on Catholic’s home floor last night 74-60. The Cavaliers again featuredabalanced scoring attack with all five starters hitting double figures. With their leading scorer, John DeBrosse a little cold, the Cavaliers Dave Bornhorst, Jim Hayes, Dick Caulfield, and Mike Mayberry took over and scored 59 points between them with Bornhorst leading the way with 20 points. Catholic took the lead in the opening seconds and never gave it up. DeBrosse had 15, below his 31 point average. “


“Piqua Catholic rolled over the Tipp City Red Devils in the Holiday Tournament at Wayne 65-41. The Cavaliers, who went into the tourney as the favorites, seemed a little sluggish most of the game. They managed, however, to control the boards throughout the contest and this proved to be the turning point of the game. Three of the Cavalier quintet hit in the double figures to provide the much needed scoring punch. DeBrosse collected 24 for Catholic while Hayes and Bornhorst put together 16 and 10 respectively.”


“Victory was the cry of the Piqua Catholic cheerleaders as the Cavaliers defeated the Patriots of Dayton Carroll 60-43 for the Wayne Holiday Tournament championship. The Cavaliers entered the tournament as the favorites and were not to be denied as they pulled out two easy victories on consecutive nights. Catholic’s rebounding and defense carried the Cavaliers through the tournament. Piqua out-rebounded Carroll last night 45-34.”


“Eight straight! The Cavaliers of Piqua Catholic ran over the Knights of Wapak St. Joseph at the Cavaliers’ home court last night 77-37. The win made seven straight victories for Catholic for an overall record of 8-1.


“The only loss came at the hands of the Meadowdale Lions in the second game of the campaign. Catholic completely controlled play the entire game both offensively and defensively. Hayes and Bornhorst grabbed rebound after rebound for the Cavaliers with DeBrosse picking up where they left off. Every boy who was dressed for Catholic got to play and almost everyone scored. Denari said that he felt everyone did a good job, and Mike Mayberry who isn’t a starter did a real fine job along with Hayes, DeBrosse, and Bornhorst.”


“Piqua Catholic won a thriller last night against the Fighting Irish of Springfield Catholic on the Cavalier hardwood 51-45. Although the winning margin was six points it doesn’t really tell the story. Catholic was leading by only two points with about a minute left to go when Mike Jacomet scored four quick points on easy lay ups to give Piqua room to breath. Jim Hayes played a really fine game for the Cavaliers in their winning effort. He led in both the scoring and rebounding departments with 17 in each department.


“Bornhorst also played a good game with 15 points and 16 rebounds. DeBrosse had nine rebounds and eight points, and Mike Jacomet contributed 10 points.The Cavaliers were a little slow to get started, but after Coach Denari had a few words at half time the Irish came out and played the second half like they wanted to.”


“Piqua Catholic suffered its second loss of the season and on its own floor Saturday night at the hands of the Spartans of Celina I.C.H.S. 84-57. The Cavalier loss can be blamed on a poor second half showing. Their scoring punch was ineffective and the defense lagged badly. The Cavaliers only managed 29 points in the second half, 20 of them coming in the last quarter, while Celina piled up a big 53 points. The Cavaliers also got into trouble at the foul line both offensively and defensively. Two of the Cavaliers big men, Bornhorst and Hayes got into foul trouble early. Even if Hayes and Bornhorst had been in the game it would have been a case of too little too late, as the Piqua five were very cold from the foul line and only made a small percentage of their foul attempts. John DeBrosse led the Catholic attack with 27 points, and Jim Hayes had 10. The other seven men that played could only manage twenty points between them.”


“Piqua Catholic’s Cavaliers won their tenth game of the season at Bethel Saturday night, 82-47. Catholic is now 10-2 for the season. John DeBrosse was the spearhead of the Catholic attack, collecting 25 points.


“This gives him a total of 1184 points in his four years at Catholic and pushes him past Tom Bornhort’s previous record of 1180 points. Piqua again had a balanced scoring attack with four men hitting double figures. DeBrosse had his 25, Jim Hayes put together 20, Bornhorst collected 12, and Tim Wallace pumped in 11. The Cavaliers shot a fair 39 percent while the Bees hit for only 29 percent.”


“Piqua Catholic Cavaliers beat the Dayton Carroll Patriots in the Patriot gym last night 62-57. This was the second Cavalier win over the Patriots this season. Catholic had a nip and tuck battle all the way as the Patriots took the first defeat sourly.


“The game never broke open until the last few minutes of the final quarter. Catholic finally went on top by nine points in the final stages to put it on ice for the Cavaliers. Piqua had three men in the double figures again and with this balanced scoring attack the Cavaliers kept the game close. DeBrosse led the scoring with 22, while Jim Hayes and Dave Bornhorst had twelve apiece. Tim Wallace played a good game and put together six points.”


“The Piqua Catholic Cavaliers thumped the Bradford Railroaders on Catholic’s home floor Saturday night, 77-36. The victory was an easy one for the Cavaliers as they took the lead in the first of the game and held it. The Cavaliers featured a well-balanced scoring attack with four men hitting double figures and one with nine points. John DeBrosse continued to pace the Catholic attack with 24 points. Jim Hayes and Mike Jacomet both pumped in 13, Dave Bornhorst hit for ten and Jerry Richard picked up nine points in the last quarter.”


“The Cavaliers of Piqua Catholic won their 13th game of the season Saturday night at the expense of the Miami East Vikings, 66-59. The game, played at the Piqua Catholic gym, was another close one for the Cavaliers.


“The score was tied five times in the second half, but the Cavaliers managed to build up a lead in the last three minutes for the winning margin. Catholic had four men in double figures to feature a good scoring attack. Hayes had 19 points. Jacomet turned in a good performance with 16, Bornhorst added 15, and John DeBrosse collected 11.”


“The Irish of Piqua Catholic suffered their third loss of the campaign at the hands of archrivals, Sidney Holy Angels, 69-65. Although the Cavaliers were down as much as 15 points in the third quarter they came back and closed the gap to four before time ran out on them. The Cavaliers out-rebounded the Wings 40-31. Jim Hayes, who is leading in that department, was again high with 13, DeBrosse, had 10, and Dave Bornhorst came down with nine. The Cavaliers were cold from the field and only managed to hit 39 per cent of their shots while the Wings shot a good 45 per cent. Sidney had 27 field goals to the Cavaliers 24. Jim Hayes fouled out late in the game when Catholic started to come close and this more or less put the damper on the Cavaliers attack.”


“The Cavaliers if Piqua Catholic won their 14th game of the season Saturday in a wild contest over Mississinawa, 76-64. The game, played in the Cavalier gym, ended with fans on the playing floor before the final whistle.The Cavaliers featured a balanced scoring attack with four men in double figures. Jim Hayes led the Catholic attack with 23 points, John DeBrosse next with 21, Dave Bornhorst and Mike Jacomet pumped in 12 each. Dick Caulfield scored eight. “


“The Cavaliers of Piqua Catholic High School finished their regular season play Saturday night with a victory against the Lakers of Indian Lake 95-72. It was an easy victory for the Cavaliers as they were hotter than a firecracker from the field.The Piqua quintet poured in 78 points in the first three quarters of play. Playing their last home game for Catholic were their leading scorer John DeBrosse, Dave Bornhorst, Jerry Richard, Mike Jacomet, Val Decker, and Dick Caulfield, who wasn’t dressed because of a sprained ankle but is a starter for the Cavaliers. “


After thrashing Indian Lake in the season finale, the 15-3 Cavaliers and their fans were in a tournament frenzy, but those emotions were sidetracked when it was learned that neither Piqua Catholic or Sidney Holy Angelshad been included in any post season pairings.


Craig Wright of the Piqua Daily Call shared his view on the dilemma.


“One of the two parochial powerhouses, Piqua Catholic and Sidney Holy Angels, thanks to men who govern the Ohio High School Athletic Association, will never make the Springfield District Class ‘A’ Tournament. Covington and Bradford, Non-County tourney participants in the past years, have been switched to the Miami County Tournament ranks to join Newton and Bethel. That cut the Non-County meet down to two teams – Piqua Catholic and Sidney Holy Angels. Catholic’s application entry in the Miami County affair through the Southwestern Board was turned down –but not flatly. Instead the board recommended Catholic to the Miami County Superintendents, who later told the Cavaliers they were turned down because of lack of a unanimous vote. Holy Angels, which supposed to have joined the Shelby County Tournament, according to the OHSAA, had the entry door slammed in their faces, too, for unknown reasons by Shelby County heads. Catholic turned the problem back to the Southwestern Board and got these four answers for governing their problem.”


“The first solution was to play one game; two, to play a best two out of three tourney; three, take the team with the best seasonal record, and last, but no means least, flip a coin. Now, our thinking on the OHSAA and its boards is that they should see all OHSAA members get a fair shake, public or parochial. But it’s clearly understood that private schools have been left to the fate of other governing bodies when they ask two teams to determine their district fate on a toss of a coin. Catholic and Sidney have already met once this season and will meet again in February, and twice is enough for any two teams in one campaign. In fact, Catholic fans can well remember in one recent season when the two teams met twice in regular play, once in the holiday tournament, once in the Non-County tourney, and a fifth time in the Springfield District. We feel that the OHSAA should gather their backbone and treat every school on an equal basis. That would only be fair to everybody, wouldn’t you say?”


The two parochial rivals decided on a single game to be played on a neutral site at Covington. The teams had split two regular season games, with the Cavaliers winning the firstand Holy Angels prevailing in the second. A standing room only crowd was not disappointed in the playoff game that provided excitement from start to finish. “Piqua Catholic’s Jim Hayes ‘bobbled’ in a lay-up here last night to hand the Cavaliers a 56-55 win over Sidney Holy Angels.


A last second shot by Holy Angels bounced off the rim as time expired and sent the Irish to their fourth consecutive district tournament berth.”


The Cavaliers first district foe was Southeastern.


“Piqua’s Cavaliers had a 67-33 waltz over Southeastern for their 17th victory in 20 outings. John DeBrosse, the standout Cavalier guard, poured in 28 points as Piqua first shredded Southeastern’s zone and kept rolling against the press.”


The Cavaliers advanced to the district semi-finals against Anna.


“They really cracked the boards, exclaimed coach Bob Denari following the Piqua Catholic’s thrilling 45-37 victory over Anna last night. Jim Hayes, although hitting only six points, played a far more important game by grabbing off 19 rebounds that enabled him to surpass the old school record held by Tom Bornhorst. John DeBrosee had 10, Dave Bornhorst 8, and Mike Mayberry 6 as the Cavaliers dominated the offensive boards the first half and the defensive boards the second half.”


“Piqua Catholic’s Cavaliers took advantage of some atrocious free throw shooting by Ft. Loramie to defeat the Redskins, 55 to 51, and winning the school’s first Class A District Championship last night before an estimated 2,600 fans at Springfield North High School.


Coach Bob Denari’s team, fighting off the Redskins repeatedly in the second half, won a spot in next week’s Troy Regional by playing methodical pattern basketball. Guard John DeBrosse, a 5-10 senior, led the Cavaliers with 19 points, but it was a twelve man victory. Forwards Jim Hayes and Mike Mayberry, both of whom fouled out in the late stages, tallied 15 and 10 points respectively, for the winners.


“Mike Jacomet cracked the game open for Piqua with 0:50 remaining when he broke away for a solo fast break that put the winners in front, 51-47. DeBrosse sealed it with two free throws 15 seconds later.”


“Underdog Piqua Catholic snapped the second longest winning streak in the state this season and moved into the finals of the Class A Regional Tournament with a classy 62-58 victory over Columbus University last night. Piqua’s scrappy Cavaliers simply outhustled the taller ‘Little Bucks’ from Columbus University, who had racked up 22 straight wins after dropping its first game of the season. Piqua had three men in double figures.


“John DeBrosse, the Cavaliers flashy 5-11 senior, scored 20 points on eight baskets and four of four from the line. Mike Jacomet, who came up with an outstanding fourth quarter performance tallied 16 and 6-3 forward Jim Hayes, who played almost the entire second half under the handicap of four personal fouls, got 10.”


“They’ve got the best five man squad I’ve seen, said Bob Denari, coach of the Piqua Catholic Cavaliers, who Saturday night captured the Troy Class A Regional title by beating Lockland, 60 to 50, at Hobart Arena.


“It was defense and John DeBrosse’s fine shooting which sparked Piqua to its defeat of Lockland, conqueror of Franklin Monroe, Darke County’s last representative in the state tournament. DeBrosse scored 31 points, including five crucial points in the game’s final two minutes to once again be Piqua’s leading scorer. Hayes added 12, with all coming in the second quarter when the Cavaliers took over the game for good.”


The victory vaulted the Cavaliers into the Class A State Tournament. “The end of the tournament line came quickly for Piqua Catholic on a gloomy Friday afternoon in Columbus. Celina ICHS spilled the Cavaliers from the Ohio high school Class A Tournament, 64-36. Six-five center Dave Bornhorst, without a doubt, played his best game of his career, coming up with nine rebounds. Junior jumping jack Jim Hayes pulled down 11 rebounds and DeBrosse ten.”


Coach Denari had this to say after the game. “I still say Celina is the best ball team we played all year. I couldn’t be happier. I mean, you sit up there in the stands for seven years, wishing you were down there. The team was successful because of all 12 players.


“Each contributed throughout the season. Whether a team member played a great deal or not, they were an important part of our great season. Many of our victories were because of great practices. Of course I hated to get beat like that, but what can you say about kids that have won 21 or 25?”


Over three thousand fans welcomed the Cavaliers back from the state tournament and in the weeks that followed, a host of clubs and organizations hosted the team and showered them with accolades so richly deserved. A letter to the community from Coach Denari was a touching climax to the 1963-64 season.“On behalf of the members of the basketball team, the student body and faculty of Piqua Catholic High School, I would like to express our sincere thanks for the enthusiastic backing given to us during the past season. The community spirit that was shown and the united feeling of the people have made us very proud to be a part of the City of Piqua. A coach and his players’ dream came true and the people of Piqua have done a great deal toward making it an everlasting memory.”


The 1964 team and Coach Denari would like to thank cheerleaders Marsha Cyphers Koon, Cetty Hurley Holthaus, Kathy Shelleberg Ryan, Ann Huter Baker, Nancy Hirt Brown and Peggy Littleton Weitzel, and the two managers John Stieffel and George Weadock for their support and for the entire Piqua community which supported us during this season. Without any of these individuals it would not have been an historic and successful season.


Sources for this story included the Piqua Daily Call, Troy Daily News, Dayton Journal Herald and Dayton Daily News

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