FIFTY YEARS AGO…
Fallsburg Comets Finish Spectacular Year
by John Conway
FALLSBURG, February 2022 — The month of February in 1972—50 years ago this month—proved to be much like the previous two months for the boys’ varsity basketball team at Fallsburg High School. With one big exception.
The Comets entered the month with an 11-0 record, and on February 2 entertained the Ellenville Blue Devils in a non-league encounter. Previously, both schools had competed in the DUSO Village League along with Monticello, Liberty, and Port Jervis, but with the demise of that conference, Ellenville had joined the Ulster County Athletic league and Fallsburg played an independent schedule in 1972.
The Comets cruised to their 12th straight win, crushing Ellenville by a 94-52 score. After racing out to leads of 11-5 after one period and 37-15 at halftime, Fallsburg scored 30 points in the third quarter of the game to remove any doubt before outscoring the Devils 27-16 in the final quarter despite playing mostly second- and third-stringers.
Stanley Gilmore led the Comets with 18 points, while five of his teammates also reached double figures. Ellenville fell to 8-4 with the loss.
A week later, Fallsburg swamped Florida of the Orange County League, 78-48, with Gilmore scoring 12 of his 13 points in the first quarter. He sat out much of the rest of the game.
Then came a February 15 contest in Callicoon against Delaware Valley High School of the Western Sullivan League, a team the Comets had cruised past in December by a 75-36 score. The Eagles had lost four of their first six games that season, before reeling off a nine game winning streak, and entered the contest with an 11-4 record.
“Fallsburg, ranked 13 in the state among small high schools, opened a 10-2 first period lead and was up 41-37 at intermission,” the Times Herald-Record newspaper reported the next day. But the Eagles came storming back, taking the lead by four points in the third quarter, but still trailed 59-57 entering the fourth. They then outscored the Comets 16-12 in the final quarter, to capture an improbable 73-71 victory.
It would be the only blemish on Fallsburg’s slate that season.
The Comets closed out their schedule with a fairly routine 67-61 win over another former DUSO rival, Monticello, although the Monties did outscore Fallsburg 20-14 in the final stanza to make the game close after two of Fallsburg’s starters fouled out. Chris Cummings led Monticello (5-8) with 25 points.
Fallsburg finished its 1971-72 season with a 16-1 slate, and ranked 13th in the state.