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Midland Leopards returning to the court … sort of

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The storied Midland Leopards will return to the basketball court, at least for one day.

Lincoln Park’s boys basketball team will wear 1960s-era replica Midland uniforms when facing Steelton-Highspire in the C.J. Betters Holiday Classic on Dec. 27, said athletic director and assistant coach Mike Bariski. The contest will rematch the 1965 state championship game won by Midland, 90-61. The tournament game is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. at the Community College of Beaver County.

“We are going to be the Midland-Lincoln Park Leopards,” Bariski said. “We copied the old warmups and jerseys. Obviously they’re going to be bigger, but they’re exact replicas.”

The 1965 Midland team starred the late Norm Van Lier and Simmie Hill, who died in July. Van Lier died in 2009. Surviving members of that 28-0 team, considered one of the best high school teams ever, will be invited back to be honored, Bariski said.

Midland, which closed its high school in 1987, also celebrated state titles in 1971, ’73, ’74 and ’76. Lincoln Park, a performing arts charter school, was built where Midland’s high school once stood.

–Chris Harlan

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