hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


March 20, 2013

A city marathon that never ended


The final basket in the 206th hour was taken by Mickey Grover for obvious reasons. He talked the others into pursuing the record, which was held by a group from Amesbury at 105 hours. But then fate intervened. While the Haverhill hoopsters were pursuing that record, they caught wind that a group from California checked in at 203 hours and held the record momentarily.

Grover broke the news to his teammates and they decided to double their standard and go for all the beans. Back and forth they went, one basket after another.

One of their most fervent fans was state Sen. Jake Rurak, himself a basketball player via the Boys Club. He showed up every day with sandwiches and snacks for the players.

Others, like Mayor George Katsaros and other elected officials, would stop by to wish the boys well. But Jake came and stayed for long periods of time.

And there were others like sports guru Mike Schena who hopped aboard the bandwagon. When the deal was sealed and the record set, he presented each of the 25 participants with a gold-plated silver dollar. I still have mine as official reporter, which makes me $1 richer than Ouellette.

“We were kids,’’ he said. “You get $1, you spend $1. Maybe I should have saved it.”

The ball used in the game held center court, so to speak, at the Basketball Hall of Fame for a quarter century, autographed by the players. Many of them took the trip to the hall in Springfield just to see their names in the showcase.

Then one day, the ball disappeared mysteriously.

“Apparently, new curators came aboard and made room for other artifacts, so the basketball wound up inside a closet somewhere,” Ouellette said. “Mickey (Grover) wanted the ball back and kept after them until they complied.”

Ouellette’s most vivid recollection of the marathon came one day when Channel 5 stopped by to record the event. There was Don Gillis and crew inside the “bandbox” gym with an arsenal of cameras.

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