Wilton Men’s League turns 50 this season

  • James Cook of Team Red defends Kyle Todd of Team Orange during a Wilton Men's League semifinal game on Sunday, March 26, 2023. The league is in its 50th year this season. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/29/2023 3:10:57 PM
Modified: 3/29/2023 3:10:44 PM

What started as an outlet for recent graduates to keep playing hoops has turned into a venerable tradition in Wilton, as the Wilton Men’s League celebrates its 50th year in action this spring. 

“We've been going 50 years,” said Walter Bausha, who helped found the league back in 1973. “That's a long time.”

Back in the day, the winning team received a case of beer for their trouble and players were likely to drink it in the parking lot after the game.  But the league was a serious one, with players like Ralph Wade and John Davies, Dennis Claire and Dave Finch, Wilton legacies whose kids and grandkids are now playing in the league. 

“They’re doing a good job carrying on the legacy,” Bausha said. 

The league’s eight teams, drafted by team captains at a preseason American Legion meeting, play each Sunday from December through March, crowning a champion just after the high school season has ended, during the heart of March Madness and on the verge of the NBA playoffs. League games take place at Wilton-Lyndeborough’s high school gym, and the league gives back every spring by donating a scholarship for a graduating WLC senior.

“A small community doesn’t have a lot of money to give out scholarships,” Bausha said, “but it's good for some of the kids that want to play pickup like this.”

The league has been going strong, more or less, for 50 years, with one year off due to COVID. While Bausha said there was a bit of a lull in the competition level at some point over the last half-century, the league is as good as ever in 2023. 

“Back then, everybody playing in it was good,” Bausha said. “And now it's back and getting stronger every year again.”

This year’s championship game between Tim Conway, Ben Conant and Malachi Page’s Team Yellow and Kyle Todd and Jack Schwab’s Team Orange takes place Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the high school. 

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