February 10, 2013

A small school came up big in wins, pride

Jonesport-Beals, representing the best of Down East, experienced the Auditorium while ruling the state.

By Steve Solloway ssolloway@pressherald.com
Columnist

Ordie "Skip" Alley felt his body tense. His nerves were taut. The Bangor Auditorium can do that to a basketball coach, player or fan when a game is on the line.

"I know what's it like to win there, to look into the stands and see all the people in your community, all the people you grew up with supporting you," said Alley. "You feel such pride because you're representing them. I've experienced that excitement."

Last year, Skip Alley wanted his son, Matt, to feel that excitement. Matt Alley and his teammates did, beating Deer Isle-Stonington for the Eastern Class D title. The next week, in Augusta, Jonesport-Beals won the state championship, defeating Forest Hills of Jackman.

Few high school teams and their communities are as linked to the Bangor Auditorium as Jonesport-Beals. The tiny school in Washington County has won 14 championships in the old arena, starting with a run of five regional and state titles in 1970. Jonesport High, before consolidation, won a state championship in 1966.

Skip Alley's father, Ordman, was the coach through that glorious 1970s run.

That's three generations. Ordman Alley was at the Auditorium to see his grandson and the sons of men he coached.

Twenty or 30 years ago there might have been about 150 high school students from mainland Jonesport and Beals Island. Today, said Alley, there might be 60.

"We're 'Hoosiers.' If you've seen the movie, that's us. Remember when the team walked into the Butler field house for the championship game? That's us going to the Auditorium," said Skip Alley.

The Bangor Auditorium, he said, is where small towns go to celebrate.

"What do we to have brag on? Basketball. These kids represent your community. There is status to winning," said Alley.

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

ssolloway@pressherald.com

Twitter: SteveSolloway

 

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