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A look back at CHS-WHS

Catasauqua’s boys basketball recent battle with Whitehall - a 48-37 Zephyrs’ win - can conjure some memories of an epic past.

Ron Hassler can relate on both ends as a player and head coach at Catty, and a head coach at Whitehall.

Both schools added boys’ and girls’ games this season due to the reduced COVID-19 schedule, but the close proximity between the towns hasn’t generated thoughts of playing independent games aside from their usual full league schedules.

They had their share of legendary clashes in the old Lehigh Valley League, which ended in 1974 and the two schools went into their own leagues.

In fact, the last time the boys’ teams faced each other was during the 1984-85 season. During the 1981-82 season, Whitehall won 50-31 behind standout Scott Coval and the rest of the state championship team. With Hassler in his final year, Catty pulled out a tight, 42-41, victory the following season.

In each of the following two seasons, Whitehall posted a pair of decisions, 46-20, and 51-37.

“I couldn’t recall us playing Whitehall for a long time,” said Catty head coach Eric Snyder. “You would have thought we would have played, but it hasn’t happened for a long time.”

During the 84-85 season, Hassler was coaching in his first season at Whitehall and had a feeling the series might end.

“There were some hard feelings that I left Catty and went to Whitehall,” said Hassler, who coached for two seasons at Catty. “They felt betrayed, and I believe they dropped us at that point.

“But people remember how Catty beat Whitehall in my last year there. It was a great back-and-forth game.”

Hassler stated that he made the jump to Whitehall - a 3A school at the time - to eventually embark on a college career.

“I figured Whitehall was a bigger school, and I had to step up,” he added. “That was probably the main reason that I left.”

Hassler had his dream shattered when he investigated the possibilities of being an assistant coach at Kutztown.

“I discussed some things with Kutztown, but it wouldn’t work,” he said. “I would have had to take a pay cut from my teaching and coaching. It wasn’t going to work because I was starting a family.

“If it would have happened today, it would have been a lot easier. College assistants are paid pretty well.”