Two new major league circuits began play in the 1909-10 season, in direct competition with the established Central Basketball League. The Hudson River League, enjoyed first-year success, sparked by a great race between two of the most famous teams of the era, the Paterson Crescents and the Troy Trojans. The Crescents were organized in 1902 and performed virtually intact for the next ten seasons. The Trojans featured Ed Wachter, a towering figure, physically and influentially, in professional basketball. He was responsible for two important basketball innovations, the bounce pass and the fast break. Before then, passing consisted of short tosses caught on the fly by the receivers.
The highly successful two-year-old Hudson River League was ripped apart in October 1911 by bitter factionalism over the proposed re-election of league president Albert Saulpaugh. When prolonged negotiations failed to satisfy either side, Saulpaugh’s supporters in Catskill, Hudson, Troy, and Schenectady withdrew from the league and formed a rival organization, the New York Basketball State League. The remaining HRL teams, Kingston, Newburgh, Paterson, and Yonkers tried to regroup by admitting new teams, but the league collapsed shortly therafter.