Hoops legend Lewis struck, killed by car

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Father of current Unionville star was a Philadelphia basketball legend, successful coach, teacher at Chester

By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com

Alonzo Lewis

PHILADELPHIA — The Unionville community is mourning the loss of local basketball legend Alonzo Lewis, who was struck and killed by a car Tuesday — doing what he loved, going to a basketball game in the city.

The Chadds Ford resident and father of Unionville High School basketball star Alison Lewis, was struck by a car while crossing School House Lane and Henry Avenue en route to attending the Archbishop Carroll/Neumann-Goretti Catholic League playoff game. He died shortly after at Temple University Hospital.

He is survived by two daughters, Anastasia and Alison, and three grandchildren as well as his wife, Cathy.

Lewis was a fixture at basketball games in the area, especially Unionville High School games, where his youngest daughter — as only a sophomore — has emerged as one of the Delaware Valley’s top female high school basketball players.

Lewis was a star basketball player at LaSalle University, a key member of the Explorers’ 1954-55 squad that lost to Bill Russell’s San Francisco State in the NCAA finals. Lewis went on to play for the Hazleton Hawks in the old Eastern League, the top minor professional basketball league — at a time when there were few NBA teams. The EL, which eventually became the Continental Basketball Association, was famous for both its high level of play and rugged scheduling and travel. Many EL/CBA players and coaches went onto stardom in the NBA.

After his playing career, he coached and taught at Chester High School, winning a pair of state boys basketball titles and the third most wins in school history, coaching from 1985 to 1995. Of court, he was remembered as a demanding history and English teacher, who insisted his players and students get a real education. He also coached at Cheney State.

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