Sammie Maletta (Coach, League president, former Portage Mayor)
It was a long time ago, but I have a lot of great memories. We had a bunch of very competitive coaches like Larry Hedges, William Suarez and your Dad. Your Dad helped a lot in teaching and developing rookie coaches. The competition was tough. I really enjoyed my years with the league, and it was great when we’d compete against Glen park, Merrillville and Hobart.
Mark Bando (PHS ’75)
Some of my best childhood memories revolve around Biddy Basketball. My Dad coached with his good friend Jim Brakulis. Before I was old enough to play, I would go watch my brother’s practices. I would bring my own ball and work on my dribbling on the raised stage at Garyton while the practice was going on. I can remember John Brakulis and Trader Horn giving me a few pointers and words of encouragement. Great times!
Rob Evans (PHS ’70)
My Dad Bob Evans was a Biddy Basketball coach in the very early days of Portage BB. As a result, Bud Samuel (director of Portage BB) and his wife Lois became good family friends. During this time my youngest brother Mark Evans was maybe 2 or 3 years old. One Saturday afternoon at the games Bud bought Mark a Slo Poke Sucker. Mark proceeded to make a mess of it and had it all over this face, hands and clothes. Well my Mom was none too happy and told Bud don't ever do that again. He didn't - but my Dad did. For the next few years he would occasionally buy Mark a Slo Poke and as expected it got all over him and when they got home, he'd say "That Bud, he did it again!" And the next time my Mom would see Bud she would tear into him. Of course, Bud would protest his innocence which my Mom didn't buy one bit!
Glen Geisleman (PHS ’75)
My best memories of Portage Youth Basketball practices at Garyton, games on Saturday Afternoon at Aylesworth and my favorite Coach was Ron Pendleton. He spent a lot of time with me and he made me feel confident. When we first moved to Portage, I was riding in the car with my dad and there was young woman with 2 young girls whose car broke down on 29th Ave. (Stone Ave). My dad stopped to help and couldn't get their car going, so he brought them to our house so she could call her husband to come pick them up. A few years later when Mr. Pendleton became my coach was when we found out that it was his wife and his daughters Cheryl and Lisa that my dad helped out that day. So, it was my good fortune that ironically, I would end up with one of the best and most dedicated coaches in the program and continue to have a relationship with for many years!
Deborah S. (Hedges) Petrella (PHS ’73)
Fondest memories were when my father, Lawrence Hedges became the Biddy Basketball Director after starting as a coach in the 60’s. Our Saturdays during the winter months were spent watching games all day. When I was in 6th grade, I was a cheerleader for our all-star team (mostly boys that would graduate 1973). So much fun!! The best part of Saturday’s was being able to run in and out of the concessions as if we owned the place, ha ha!! Some great friendships were formed especially for my parents.
Jim Samuel (PHS ’66)
My memories of Portage Biddy Basketball are different than most. My dad Bud, was the founder and Director of the league. My mother Lois ran the concession stand. I only played one year of Biddy Basketball. Jim Sausman was my coach. We had several boys from our Garyton area on my team. We just had fun at practice and at every game.
My memories go way beyond my one year as a player. With Dad and Mom being so involved we spent all day every Saturday in the gym. For a gym rat like me this was as great as it gets.
My Dad and Mom dedicated many years to the youth of Portage. My Dad always said "there are no bad kids". They set an example for me to follow. My dad was not only involved in Biddy Basketball but was also involved in Babe Ruth Baseball.
My memories include many great Individuals and families. I would describe it as a Portage Biddy Basketball family. This group supported me and Portage sports programs as I went through Portage High school.
Rich Trowbridge (PHS ’73)
One of my favorite memories was the smell of popcorn everywhere as soon as you walked in the gym, running into the gym to see which one of our neighborhood buddies was playing, and then we got to play on the varsity floor full court at the end of the season tourney.
Daid Rea (PHS ’73)
My best memories are of Coach Wayne Miller and being part of something that seemed so cool to me at the time. As many know, he kept such great records and would send them each week to the team. So, we could see the lifetime record holders for the team. They were some names I really looked up to as a 9-10 year old. What an amazing way to start my life in competitive teams sports. Of course, the other lasting memory are the friends that I met then and see at least once a year, and communicate with weekly. Remarkable and so thankful.
Larry McEwan (PHS ’74)
I had some great coaches, Sammie Maletta, Mr Devries and Mr Arvidson. Played on an undefeated team coached by sammie. I played with the Devries boys (cousins), Scott, Darryl and Bruce. I had a lot of respect for all of them throughtout the years!!!
Steve Sabo (PHS ’75)
Like everyone else, I had great memories from Biddy Basketball. Played a couple of years on Ron Pendleton's team with my brother Rick and later with my brother Donald. The three of us would walk in the cold and snow from Ted's East Town early in the morning on Saturday's and spend the whole day at Aylesworth playing basketball (between games) until they chased us out. Great memories hanging with my brothers.
Godfrey Mackenize (PHS ’75)
I don't have any clear and specific memories. I just remember enjoying the team, the competition, our coach - Mr. DeVries. I looked forward to each and every game. My Dad usually worked Saturdays and my Mom would drop me off for the games and then picked me up so I didn't get much time to mess around at the gym. The experience helped create the love of sports and the love of basketball. I now understand how many people shared their time and talent to provide us Biddy Basketball. I have tried to share my time, talent and treasure with my children's sports teams to support and give back. We had good examples and role models growing up.
Bob Miller (PHS ’74)
So many. Getting to play in Crown Point on an all-star team for nine-year old players. Felt like a high school player walking into a gym as a team. Playing in a warm-up game before Fabulous Magicians (with Marques Haynes) during 1967/8 season at the age of ten. Full court in the varsity gym, in front of a couple hundred people. Since then, being reminded by my neighborhood friend/teammate, Rich Trowbridge how he fouled out of the semifinals and we had a five-point lead in the 4th quarter. We couldn’t hold the lead and lost. 50 plus years later, he reminds me of it every time we see each other and laugh and smile. Tears then, laughs now. Great memory.