St. Ann’s Bobby Ferry left last­ing im­pres­sion

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - SPORTS - Staff re­port

ED­I­TOR’S NOTE: This is the 11th and fi­nal in­stall­ment in a se­ries on the Ha­zle­ton Area Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017, which will be in­ducted at a ban­quet next Sun­day at Genetti’s Cater­ing, Ha­zle Town­ship. Call Ron Marchetti at 570-956-1532 for ticket in­for­ma­tion.

Doug Ferry never saw his fa­ther play in a bas­ket­ball game.

But as he pored over his late fa­ther’s scrap­book re­cently, child­hood mem­o­ries of hear­ing his dad’s old friends in Free­land — people he didn’t even know — tell sto­ries about Bobby Ferry’s ex­ploits on the hard­wood and his own im­promptu shoot­ing ses­sion with his dad all came rush­ing back. They’re all Doug needed to re­al­ize just how su­per a player his late fa­ther re­ally was at now de­funct St. Ann’s High School in Free­land and later for one sea­son at Mount St. Mary’s Col­lege.

So su­per was the elder Ferry that he will be posthu­mously in­ducted into the Ha­zle­ton Area Sports Hall of Fame one week from

tonight, with Doug ac­cept­ing a plaque on his fa­ther’ s be­half.

“We once were at my grand­mother’ s house in Drexel Hill,’’ Doug said. “My dad must have been in his 40s at the time and he said, ‘Let’s go shoot some hoops at the bas­ket at the (neigh­bor­hood) play­ground .’ By then he hadn’t played in years. ... I don’ t think he missed a shot.’’

Bobby didn’t miss many shots for tiny St. Ann’s from 1947-51, lead­ing the Cru­saders to the Moun­tain League cham­pi­onship as a sopho­more. By his ju­nior year, he made enough shots to be named to the All-Moun­tain League first team and ear n All-Re­gional sec­ond-team hon­ors.

That set the stage for Bobby’s se­nior year for the ages, when he won the league’s scor­ing crown with 308 points in 12 games, in­clud­ing 42 one night. His av­er­age of 25.5 points per con­test was a lo­cal record which lasted for sev­eral sea­sons. His point to­tal was 73 more than the league’s sec­ond lead­ing scorer.

Over­all, Ferry scored 735 points in 29 games (25.3 ppg). He headed the All-Free­land Team, which was made up of play­ers from St. Ann’s, Free­land and Foster Town­ship high schools and MMI Prep.

The As­so­ci­ated Press voted him to its “Lit­tle” All-State team, which was com­prised of play­ers from the state’s small­est schools. He was the only parochial school player and only one un­der 6-feet tall — he stood slightly taller than 5-10 — to earn all-state hon­ors that sea­son. He also was the first player from a Free­land-based school ever to make all-state; while re peat­ing as an al­l­league and All-Re­gional per­former.

“The lo­cal sports­writer of the day loved my dad,’’ Doug Ferry said, as he looked over more ar ticles from his fa­ther’s worn scrap­book.

The elder Ferry took his im­mense tal­ents to Mount St. Mary’s, where he once scored 19 points against King’s Colle ge. How­ever, he de­cided that col­lege wasn’t for him and left the Em­mitts­burg, Md. cam­pus after one year.

Bobby and his fu­ture wife, the for­mer Anne C. Koch met at a bar in Ha­zle­ton, but moved to Drexel Hill in Delaware County after their mar­riage. They raised four chil­dren, a daugh­ter, Vic­to­ria, and sons, Doug, Carl and Robert.

Bobby spent sev­eral decades work­ing as a cor­rec­tions of­fi­cer, first at Eastern State Pen­i­ten­tiary in Philadel­phia and then at Grater­ford Prison, be­fore his re­tire­ment.

He passed away on Dec. 4, 2014.


Bobby Ferr y, a star bas­ket­ball player at now de­funct St. Ann’s High School in Free­land in the early 1950s, will be posthu­mously in­ducted into the Ha­zle­ton Area Spor ts Hall of Fame next Sun­day.

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