The Bartlett boys’ basketball team earned "RESPECT" last Friday night when they beat Division One cross town rival Shepherd Hill 66-59 in Dudley before a standing room only crowd. The large crowd aroused memories of the rivalry when it all started back in the early seventies when Webster and Dudley severed educational ties and Charlton teamed up with Dudley to form Shepherd Hill. It was a bitter divorce back in the early seventies and the bitterness created a high octane rivalry that carried onto the athletic fields. A game like last Friday night would have been sold out days before the opening tip off of the scheduled 5:30 p.m. JV game. I witnessed the very first boys’ basketball game between Bartlett and Shepherd Hill in Dudley in 1974 when the late Eddie Jarosz and Marty Paglione led the young Rams over Bartlett. Bartlett’s rich basketball history at the time was in shock after that loss and that game set the tone for many years to come.
Over the years the rivalry has lost its luster because the bitterness has worn off from the seventies divorce, but this past Friday had evidence that both communities can get up for a big game. Both teams still play for pride and this is a new era with a different cast of characters. The fans were behaved on Friday, but the tension was inevitable as the (9-4) Indians crossed the French River bridge to battle the pre game favorite (9-4) Rams. Both teams are heading to the Clark Tournament and the Districts later on this season which says a lot about the quality of both hoop programs. Shepherd Hill has been flirting with being a top ten Central Mass. team all season and don’t forget that Bartlett was coming off a miserable loss to Oxford on Tuesday.Credit the Pirates for handcuffing Bartlett’s leading scorer Nick Kobel to a single point. The Pirates get my vote as the best defensive team in South County this winter. They are relentless and tough. The Pirates are also heading to the Clark and the post season Districts.
As for the Bartlett-Shepherd Hill rivalry, they only play each other once during the season and there are some Ram fans who want to discontinue the football game. Both schools played each other twice in the same season in the late eighties. For you history buffs, Shepherd Hill beat Bartlett in their initial football contest in 1973. 2013 will mark the 40 year anniversary of that game. Time does march on. The greatest football game between both schools was played in 1987 in Webster in overtime. Bartlett won. By the way, the Patriots win the Super Bowl 38-35.
- Thursday, 02 February 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Peter Coyle