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Richard Scribben

Deming's Richard Scribben happy to be an ACBF Hall of Famer

Staff Writer

When the Ashtabula County Basketball Foundation Hall of Fame was founded 2003, the names of Richard Scribben and Frank Zeman never came up.

It wasn't that Scribben and Zeman weren't qualified.  It's that no one knew of their feats at New Lyme Deming High School from 1950-54.

Well, almost no one.  Alex Olah, who graduated with the pair of Deming standouts knew — and informed the Star Beacon sports department last year, though too late to get them into the second ACBF Hall of Fame class.

Now, Scribben is a known quantity — and his achievements are worthy of induction into the 2005 Hall of Fame class.  He will be inducted at the ACBF banquet April 10 at the Conneaut Human Resources Center.

Along with Zeman, Scribben was one of the main cogs on Deming's 1950-54 teams that established a high-powered offense that often scored 100 points and more and defeated opponents by 40 points or more.  In fact, the Rangers won six Buckeye Conference championships in seven years, despite the fact that there were only seven boys and eight or nine girls in the 1954 graduation class.

"I'd guess that at that time, the average score was maybe 40 or 50 points," Scribben said.  "I had three coaches in four years.  Ray Rathbun, 

from Rhode Island, who was the head coach at Slippery Rock, changed things.

"Everything was ‘Go, go go' on a fast break.  There'd be two passes, but by the third time a person touched the ball, it should be in the net.  

"A lot of people frowned on that, said they'd rather have more competition.  It started with the fast break.  Sometimes, there was only one pass.  We had plays, but nothing that took up any time."

Defensively, the Rangers used a man-to-man almost exclusively, though when they played teams with dominant players, they'd go to a 1-3-1 or 2-1-2 zone.

Scribben was the outside shooter on the team, while Zeman worked the inside.  They scored points in the teens, or the 20s and occasionally one or both scored more than 30 points.

"It seemed like my best games came in the tournament," Scribben said.  "I'd hit between 30 and 40 points.  In the tournament my senior year, I averaged bout 32-34 points a game."

During his career, Scribben scored 1,208 points, still the 10th-highest total in county history.

"(Zeman) played pivot," Scribben said.  "I played the outside sideline.  I was a forward, but if we had three-point shots then, all of my shots would be three-pointers.  I could jump pretty high, so I jumped center and played forward.  I was about 6-1 1/2."

Scribben was named third-team All-Ohio his senior year and Deming was the ranked in the top 10 Class B teams in the state for a while.

"We thought that was something, an itty-bitty team was being talked about all over the state of Ohio."

Deming scored many of its points off its defense, a stifling full-court press.

"Opponents couldn't do anything," Scribben said.  "The other team very seldom got the ball upcourt.  A lot of times we'd (score) and try to steal the ball right away.  It was a long time ago."

Scribben admits to a bit of surprise that he was selected for induction into the Hall of Fame.

"In a way it does, because I don't think too many people around the (19)50s," he said.  "I think there's a lot more going on now than in those days.  Not everybody had cars when I was in school."

He is also not very impressed with modern-day high school basketball players.

"I don't think too many teams in the last 15 years or so could compete with what was occurring in the '40s and '50s," he said.  "It's a different ball game.  We couldn't breathe without someone calling a foul on us.  Three-pointers — half of us could shoot out there.  It wasn't anything special, only two points."

When Scribben graduated from high school, he had a few college offers, but turned them all down.

"I wanted to go to work, to help my folks here on the (dairy) farm," he said.  "I played independent ball around the area and in the military.  I played in the states and in Germany for the Army."

Scribben went into the Army in 1958, more or less volunteering to beat the draft and played basketball while in the infantry.  He became an M.P.  (military policeman) for a year and played while doing that.  

"If we'd won one more game, we would've gone back to the states to play the championship of the Army," he said.  "But we lost that game."

After he left the service, Scribben started working for rubber factories in Middlefield and Chardon.  From there, he became a machinist in Cleveland, then into UAW (United Auto Workers) management.  When his parents died, he took over the family farm.

He now raises whiteface cattle and a little grain and hay on his farm of 83 acres and leases another 83 acres on North Richmond Road, off Stanhope and Route 7.

"I'm slowing down a little," Scribben, 69, said.  "But I'm still a dairy farmer.  I've thought about eliminating a few head (of cattle) and get down to 25.  Last year, I had about 50, but I've thought of reducing it.

Scribben and his wife, Rita, have two sons, Shawn, 30, and Eric, 28.  Shawn and his business partner split the business recently and he's looking for a job.  Eric got his doctorate in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech and works for a chemical company in Columbus.

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