1969-1970 & 1970-1971 Boys Basketball Team
If the Brooklyn Dodgers were the boys of summer, the AB boys basketball team, at the turn of the sixties decade, were the Lions of Winter. This band of round ball marauders wreaked havoc across gymnasiums in eastern Massachusetts. The sacking of Rome was kinder than what these gentlemen did to those who entered their hardwood confines. The combination of speed, strength, stamina, savvy, and swagger laid waste to opponents. If it's proof you want, bare witness to a two year, 48 game winning streak and the continuance of an 88 straight games without a loss at Blanchard Gym, then known to one and all as "win city."
It is unusual to combine two separate teams when considering a hall of fame honor. Not in this case. Although losing several key components of the 69/70's team, a vast majority of the roster returned to capture Back-to-Back Tech Tourney and Massachusetts State Titles. Led by Captain Al Ramos in 69/70 and Captains Steve Shook and Mike Williams in 70/71, these two teams are generally considered to be one of the finest that ever came out of eastern Massachusetts. No less a source than Boston Globe legend Peter Gammons wrote on March 24, 1971. "I don't know if they could win the Class A Tournament, but I would sure like to let some teams that think they are so good, get knocked around by them. They are as physical a team as I've seen." Currently no fewer than eight members of this team are enshrined in AB's Athletic Hall of Fame. While Shook and Castelline excelled primarily on the hardwood, this team was made up of multi-sport athletes who carried their skills from field to court. Their trademark fast break style and smothering full court pressure combine with precision, fundamentals and multiple defensive schemes made preparation versus nigh impossible. This was orchestrated by a brilliant coach and task-master Larry McNulty. His preparation and insistence on detail and excellence infused his athletes. He expected them to win, and they did. They stood together then as they do now, 35 years later. They were teammates, they were friends, they were brothers. Their speed may have diminished by not the competitive fire that burns in their belly.