Crimins 73-point night stands after half century
- Kerry Eggers
- Portland Tribune - Sports
Milwaukie resident is surprised his scoring record is still intact
The date was Feb. 23, 1952. A night earlier, Lincoln's 7-3 Swede Halbrook had scored 71 points to set the state high school single-game scoring record. Now McLoughlin High of Milton-Freewater was playing Hermiston, and there was magic in the air, even if nobody knew it at the time.
Jerry Crimins kept getting the ball and putting it into the basket. Mac Hi's 5-11 senior guard was on a roll. When it was over, the Pioneers had set a Blue Mountain Conference team scoring record with a 116-63 victory, and Crimins had scored 73, surpassing Big Swede by two points.
Fifty years later, the state record still stands, much to Crimins' astonishment.
'I was surprised it held for one day,' says Crimins, 68, a Milwaukie resident who still plays basketball and is a nationally ranked age-group tennis player. 'I figured Swede would score more the next time out.'
Crimins was 31 of 40 from the floor and 11 of 13 from the foul line. Years have clouded the memory of it, but he remembers the absence of hoopla.
'Before the game, we had talked about Swede's (71 points), and how could anybody score that many points in a 32-minute game,' says Crimins, whose previous high was 42 points.
'I really wasn't aware of anything during the game, though I noticed the boys on my team were feeding me the ball a lot. I heard somebody say '60' or '61' with a couple of minutes to go, but it was no big deal. There was no media or anything. After the game, I heard guys on the bench say '73,' but there was no celebration. I went home and went to bed.'
Crimins, who played on several of East Bank Saloon's national championship senior teams, is more of a celebrity now than he was then.
'Once in a while, I will get a phone call, and the guy will say, 'We are having an argument. Are you the guy É was it 70 points or 73?' '
• Crimins and Halbrook were later teammates at Oregon State, though Swede lasted only two years. Retired coach Paul Valenti, who has watched every Beaver player since 1938, picks Halbrook as the 'most effective' in those 64 years.
'He was 7-foot-3 playing in a 6-foot lane,' Valenti says. 'He was a man among boys.'
Halbrook, who still holds the OSU single-game rebounding record (36), was the top player on the 1954 Northern Division champions and 1955 Pacific Coast champions. The latter team lost 57-56 in the Western Regional finals to Bill Russell-led San Francisco, which went on to win the NCAA championship.
The Beavers had visions of winning the national title the next season, which would have been Halbrook's senior year. But Halbrook's lack of dedication to academics and tendency toward non-basketball distractions got in the way.
'At the end of his junior year, Slats (Gill) called Swede in and said, 'You have to conform, go with the program more, or we have to let you go,' ' Valenti, then an assistant coach, says.
'Two weeks later, Swede came in and said, 'Slats, I can't promise you anything.' '
Halbrook left school. Without their big man, the 1955-56 Beavers stumbled to an 8-18 record, one of only eight losing seasons in Gill's 36 years at the helm. Halbrook died in 1988.
• NBA TV analyst Fred Carter, speaking on a recent late-night radio talk show, was asked about the best on-court fights he saw during his playing career. Carter brought up one that took place in Portland in 1973 involving Trail Blazer forward Terry Dischinger.
'Mike Price decked Terry and knocked out three teeth,' Carter said. 'Terry scooped them up and put them back in his mouth. Ironic thing was, Terry is a dentist.'
Carter has it half right, says Dischinger, 61, a respected dentist in Lake Oswego for the last 24 years: 'Dale Schleuter (then playing for Philadelphia) and LaRue Martin got into a fight, and I went over to help out, and Price reacted. It was a one-punch thing, and you know how those things are in sports. I had teeth loosened, but I didn't lose any. I thought I had a tooth in my mouth, but I felt in there, and it was chewing gum. I threw it away.'
In the ensuing years, Dischinger Ñ a longtime Blazer season-ticket holder Ñ needed several root canals. And about 10 years ago, he lost a couple of teeth as a result of the injury.
'I decided it was time to retire after that year,' Dischinger says, jokingly, 'if that is the only thing you're remembered for, something is wrong.'