February 7, 2011 Cumpston was on guard
Eagle star didn’t mind being on the defensive on the hardwood
There were plenty of highlights, with a few lowlights, mixed in when Larry Cumpston arrived on the varsity for his junior year of 1965-66 for Al Bailey, even though Andy Garcia’s Conneaut team won the Northeastern Conference title outright.
“My junior year was actually pretty easy,” he said. “The only thing was that we lost a couple games because of foul shots. It was a fairly young team in Cumpston’s junior year.
There were some memorable games from that 14-7 season. Cumpston became Bailey’s defensive stopper, at least out front. Cumpston, who averaged 12.8 points, and McHugh, who had 14.1, made first-team Star Beacon All-Ashtabula County and Coaches’ All-NEC honors.
With a veteran club coming back for their senior year of 1966-67, big things were expected of Cumpston, McHugh and Kreilach. Debevc didn’t go out for basketball, deciding to concentrate on football, which earned him a scholarship to Ohio State and eventually to national championship honors with the Buckeyes.
“I thought we had one of the strongest teams,” Cumpston said. “I knew Conneaut was loaded, too.” It turned out to be a wild season in an era when every game was a battle.
Cumpston’s high school career was ended by Shaw in the district semifinal at North, 65-46. He finished with eight points against the Cardinals, while Kreilach had 16 and McHugh had 13.
“During my junior year, I got called out of English class by a guidance counselor, who told me there had been a call from the Naval Academy about me,” Cumpston said. “But I knew I didn’t have the grades. “Later in the day, I got to practice and Mr. Bailey had all the JV and varsity players saluting me.” Cumpston also had a big impact on other Geneva teams.
Bailey tried to give Cumpston further guidance. He advised Cumpston if he got his grades up that he could probably walk on at some other four-year school. So he decided to try it.
But the academic life was not for Cumpston at that time. He has come to regret that a bit over the years. “I flunked out,” he said. “I had a brand new car that I had to pay for. “Looking back, I would have liked to have an education. I had a dream of playing college basketball.”
I would love to knowmore about Larry’s ancestry – please contact me if you can help.