‘When people are looking back into Pa. basketball history … it’s great’
York Catholic girls’ basketball player Megan Stewart, facing, leaps into the arms of teammate Kelly Rhein during the postgame celebration at Gettysburg Area High School in March 2007. Catholic girls went on to win the state championship. Background posts: Who is rightful owner of area boys’ basketball scoring record? and Lineup full of sports stars with York County links.
York Catholic girls’ success on the basketball court has people all over Pennsylvania scouring the record books.
The state champs’ target appears to be 68, and it took some digging in Philadelphia Public League vaults to arrive at that… .
Stay tuned for that target to move. History is sometimes hard to make.
A York Daily Record/Sunday News story (1/8/08) outlines the girls’ quest:
Although the York Catholic girls keep winning basketball games, the state record for consecutive wins keeps getting further away, as records and memories surface across Pennsylvania.
The state’s all-time consecutive wins mark, as previously reported, was believed to have been West End St. James (Pittsburgh), with 66 in a row from 1950-52.
But, through e-mail and phone correspondence – and a bit of Internet digging- it turns out that is not the case.
The number is actually 68.
For a state-wide mark – emphasis on the word “state” – the record is now believed to be held by West Philadelphia High School.
That number was obtained from longtime Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter Ted Silary and his Web site, http://www.tedsilary.com. Silary is in his 34th year covering high school sports for the Daily News.
The West Philly Speedboys, out of the Philadelphia Public League, won 68 straight games bridging three seasons from 1976-78. That team was led, for those first two seasons, by future Duke star and NBA player Gene Banks.
Part of the disconnect can be attributed to the fact that the Public League, until three seasons ago, was never a member of the PIAA. Historically, Philadelphia scholastic basketball has always had a separate mindset – culture, history and records – from the rest of Pennsylvania.
York Catholic will shoot for No. 60 tonight at Fairfield.
A victory would vault the Irish past the Carbondale boys of 1992-94 and into what is now thought be fourth-place on the all-time list, behind Allentown (61, 1944-47), West End St. James and West Philly.
York Catholic head coach Kevin Bankos had some fun with the new information that his club just fell two more games behind in its “quest.”
“It’s fun, and I think it’s great for Pennsylvania basketball,” Bankos said. “When people are looking back into Pa. basketball history, trying to find out this or that, it’s great. If the York Catholic girls’ team is responsible for people looking back, that’s really a neat thing.
“And, like I’ve said before, this is something they can all look back on some day and be proud of.”
York Catholic girls lost to Trinity on Jan. 11, their streak ending at 61. Here’s an excerpt from the York Daily Record story: “It had been 702 days since the last time a York Catholic girls basketball team lost a game. During that span, the Fighting Irish earned a pair of PIAA Class AA championships and won 61 straight contests to tie the Allentown boys’ teams of 1944-47 for the third-longest known winning streak in state basketball history.”
Update to update:
The York Catholic girls went on to win their third straight state championship, scoring a 103-2 record in that period.
Five years ago, the Fighting Irish girls finished their season with a 0-23.