Back in the 1960s, the Penn Yan Academy Mustang basketball team competed in what was known as “The Wayne/Finger Lakes League.” There were many very fine basketball programs in this league, including a powerful Lyons Lions basketball team coached by the legendary Dick Blackwell. They were one of the best teams in the state during those years. One of the top Lyon’s basketball players during the early 1960s was a guard named Jim Boeheim. He was a leading scorer and playmaker on those teams. Of course, Jim Boeheim moved on to become the Hall of Fame Basketball coach at Syracuse University. He has won over 1,000 games during his S.U tenure, a National Championship in 2003, and has also coached in the Olympics. Syracuse University honored their iconic basketball coach by naming the basketball court after him. The hardwood court at the Carrier Dome is named “The Jim Boeheim Court.”
During Jim Boeheim’s time at Lyons High, he played in Penn Yan only once. The Mustangs and Lions played each other once a season, alternating home games during those years. On Friday, Feb. 6, 1961, Penn Yan welcomed the Lyons Lions and Jim Boeheim to their Liberty Street court at the Junior High (now Middle School). Boeheim, a junior, led Lyons to a 58-30 win over Penn Yan on that cold February evening. He scored 17 points to lead his team to the victory. The two teams played the next season’s encounter in Lyons.
Now, almost 56 years later, Jim Boeheim is returning Penn Yan’s invitation to “play a little round ball on our court.” Wednesday, Dec. 20, the Penn Yan Mustang boy’s basketball team will travel to Syracuse to play Corning-Painted Post at the Carrier Dome on the campus of Syracuse University. The Mustangs will play the powerful Hawk team from the Southern Tier on the “Jim Boeheim Court” at the Dome. The historical full circle will be complete.
The Carrier Dome is truly the “College Basketball Mecca” of New York State and the Northeast. The Dome has set numerous “on campus” attendance records for basketball since 1971. It has also been the site of many NCAA tournament regional games and memorable collegiate basketball showdowns over the years, and is the “Home of the Syracuse Orange.” It’s a truly memorable experience for any high school basketball player to play a game on this court.
The Mustang’s contest with Corning-Painted Post will tipoff at 7 p.m. with the Dome gates opening at 6 p.m on the 20th. Tickets for this special game will sell for $10 per person. Children 12 years of age and younger will be available for $5. Tickets can be purchased at Gates A, B, and C. It should be noted, parking on campus at the Stadium West lots will cost $10 per vehicle. The concession stands will be open.
Youngsters in this area grow up watching the Syracuse Orange play top-flight collegiate basketball at the Carrier Dome on television or in person. For a group of excited, young Penn Yan Mustang basketball players, they will be able do the same. The Penn Yan Mustangs are “ Dome Bound” to play a game. A basketball experience that will be both magical and memorable.
Mustangs at Carrier Dome
What: Varsity Basketball
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Carrier Dome, 900 Irving Ave., Syracuse
Tickets: $10/$5; parking $10