Bristol's Pete Cimino recalls hitting 114 points two years before Chamberlain's feat

Of all the people who witnessed Pete Cimino's historic 114-point game for Bristol High School, it is the one person who was not there who stokes memories.

On Jan. 22, 1960, the 6-foot-2 Cimino, who would later be signed as a baseball pitcher out of high school by the Washington Senators, poured in 114 points as Bristol beat visiting Palisades, 134-86.

Philomena Cimino, the mother of Pete, had been a fixture at her son's games, along with her husband, Peter.

On this night, she decided not to go.

"My mother never missed a game - and that was the only one she ever missed," said Dave Cimino, Pete's brother, who still lives in the Bristol area. "Palisades wasn't a very good team and she thought [Bristol] would win by a lot of points."

Philomena, who passed away in 2010, was right about the 48-point victory.

Still, even when the feat seemed a possibility, she wouldn't budge. Cimino kept scoring more each quarter. He had 20 in the first quarter followed by 24, 32 and 38 points.

"My father telephoned her at halftime and she was visiting my grandmother and he told her she better come up to the game because I was scoring a lot of points," said Pete Cimino, in a phone interview from his home in Kingsport, Tenn., where he is retired. "She said she wasn't coming up because the [other] team wasn't very good - and I think that was the only game she missed."

Cimino shot 44 of 79 from the field and 26 of 29 from the foul line.

And remember, there was no three-point shot in those days.

"I probably would have had 15 or 16 more points if they had the three-pointer," Cimino said, laughing.

Jack Wichser, the starting center on that Bristol team, said that coach Chic D'Angelo called a timeout after Cimino's hot start and told the team to feed him on every play.

"It was halfway through the first quarter and Pete had quite a few points, and Coach D'Angelo said we were going to go for the league record for Pete," said Wichser, who is now retired and living in Langhorne.

The single-game Lower Bucks County League record was 62 points by Lou Klein of Delhaas.

"After [Cimino] got the record, Coach told us to go back to playing normal ball," Wichser said.

Then, laughing, he added, "We continued to feed Pete."

There was no ceremony and no stoppage of the game when Cimino hit the century mark. In fact he didn't even know he had accomplished the feat at first.

"We were in a timeout and somebody mentioned I had 100," said Cimino, who was a pitcher with the Minnesota Twins and California Angels from 1965 to 1968. "Before that, I didn't know, but things were happening so fast."

What amazed Wichser is how Cimino continued to score despite a defense that was designed to stop him.

"They had two or three players on him and he was still scoring," said Wichser, who scored six points that night.

After the game, Cimino remembers the sheer exhaustion his entire body felt. Yet on this night, even a 114-point scorer couldn't escape his coach's wrath.

"I do remember calling a timeout on my own because I was tired and Coach wasn't too pleased about it for some reason or another," said Cimino, whose previous single-game high was 34 points. "He didn't say a lot but he gave me a look like, 'What are you calling timeout for?' "

Cimino remembers a crowd of excited people at his house following the game.

"I went home and the house was filled up with school people and teammates and I was getting calls from everywhere from different newspapers," Cimino said. "It got to be a blur, with so much going on."

What is interesting is that the next game, Cimino recalls scoring 15 points in a win over William Tennent.

"It made headlines: 'William Tennent holds Cimino to 15 points,' " he said. "But we won the game and that is all that mattered."

At that game, his mother was back to her accustomed place in the stands, a dedicated follower who had seen all but 114 points of her son's high school career.

For complete coverage of Wilt's 100-point game, click here.



Contact Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225, or mnarducci@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @sjnard.