NEW CASTLE —
A chance meeting brought Rosemarie Perrotta to the Union High girls basketball team.
It was the summer of 1975. Perrotta was outside where she usually spent those hot summer days, shooting hoops in her driveway.
“My mom was on the side porch and her work was done for the day and she was watching me shoot around,” Perrotta recalled. “I’d be like, ‘mom, what do you think from here?’ and she’d say, ‘oh, it’s a straight in swish.’ She’d watch me take shots from all over the place and they usually went in.”
It was during one of those summer shooting sessions that a car pulled into the driveway. It was then-Lady Scots coach John Takacs that got out.
“He was the student driving teacher and he often drove around and saw me out shooting in the backyard,” she said.
Takacs approached Perrotta’s mother, complimented her daughter’s slick shooting and, despite the fact Rosemarie hadn’t even began the eighth grade, offered her a chance to join his team. As the saying goes, the rest is history.
That would be the start of what would be a successful basketball career for Perrotta —one filled with record-breaking performances and accolades from Union to Westminster College.
Now, it will take her to another place— the hall of fame. Perrotta, 50, will be one of 11 honorees inducted into the Lawrence County Historical Society Sports Hall of Fame on April 28 at the New Englander.
“I’m very humbled and honored,” she said. “I never thought that somebody would pick up on my basketball years and dive into my statistics, and my playing at Union and Westminster and put it into words so the committee could actually look at it and vote on it.”
MAKING A NAME
Going up against older girls, some as much as five or six years older, in her early days with the Lady Scots wasn’t much of an issue for Perrotta. After all, she’d been facing tough competition all of her life.
“There were all older boys except maybe one other girl in the neighborhood. I loved to play with the boys. I had to hope there’d be an odd number of them so I had a chance to play.”
Although Takacs acted as her first coach in high school, it was Perrotta’s older brother, Angelo, who she considers her first mentor on the court.
“We used to play in the backyard,” she said. “The first time I broke away for a layup, next thing I know, I get slammed against the garage. I fly one way and the ball flies the other way. I turned around and looked at him and was just like, ‘seriously?’ He said to me, ‘you got to learn to make the layup when you get fouled.’ ”
Those lessons were picked up quickly. As a ninth-grader, Perrotta conquered a rare feat by completing a four-point play. In a game on March 5, 1977 against New Brighton, she was fouled after banking in a 20-footer. She was awarded a one-and-one and made both.
“Being the youngest on the team and the youngest on the court at the time, I was just stunned and happy it got our offense going,” Perrotta said. “That’s what the result of it was. Our offense was not making any shots and not playing up to their ability. It was one of those moments that turned the game around. ”