Regardless of how Marshall fares against Teutopolis in tonight’s championship game of the Class 2A Effingham St. Anthony Regional, there’s no denying that the 27-0 Lions have treated their fans to one of the most memorable boys basketball seasons in recent Wabash Valley history.
Checks of the ihsaa.com Web site for Indiana high schools and ihsa.org site for Illinois schools revealed few seasons with even close to as good of records as Marshall has compiled in 2008-09.
The ihsaa.com site lists every Indiana school’s boys basketball record since 1993-94.
Some of the best include:
n Terre Haute North went 22-3 (18-2 in the regular season) in 1994-95, 21-6 (15-5) in 1995-96, 20-5 (16-4) in 1993-94 and 17-5 (16-4) in 1997-98.
n Terre Haute South went 22-6 (17-5) in 2004-05, 18-5 (18-4) in 2007-08 and 17-4 (17-3) in 1995-96. Digging a little deeper, a Tribune-Star microfilm search reminded me that South finished 23-2 (19-1) in 1988-89, Tony McGee’s senior year.
Also worth noting is that the Braves have won at least 18 games in three of the past five seasons (including this season), an impressive accomplishment in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference era of North and South athletics.
n That 1995-96 sure was a dandy season around here. You probably noticed North and South posting outstanding marks then, but West Vigo also went 19-3 (18-2).
n Northview went 21-3 (20-2) in each of the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons.
n Staying in Clay County, Clay City went 18-5 (17-4) in 2002-03.
n Back to 1995-96 again, Turkey Run finished 18-3 (18-2).
n Sullivan ended up 24-3 (20-2) in 2000-01 and 22-3 (18-2) in 1998-99.
n A former small-school power, Union went 24-4 (18-3) in 1999-2000, 21-4 (18-3) in 1996-97 and 20-4 (18-3) in 1997-98.
n A more recent memory is Rockville going 23-4 (19-3) in 2007-08.
n Also last season, Shakamak finished 19-6 (16-5).
n North Central ended up 18-6 (16-5) in 2006-07.
n Riverton Parke concluded 1997-98 at 14-5 (14-4). Incidentally, not every Valley team enjoyed an outstanding ’95-96. That season, the Panthers went winless in 21 games.
You’re starting to get the point by now: Wrapping up a season with one or zero losses is next to impossible.
As for Illinois schools in our area, ihsa.org goes back farther than the Indiana site, but it also skips a few seasons at some schools, probably because records were unavailable. Also, ihsa.org does not provide a game-by-game listing of scores for any seasons, so determining regular-season records is more difficult.
With that in mind, here are some of the best Illinois records from the past 40 years (with no regular-season records in parentheses):
n Before now, Marshall’s best seasons were 26-3 in 1972-73, 25-3 in 2007-08 and 23-4 in 1993-94.
n Also in Clark County, Martinsville posted impressive marks of 28-1 under coach Steve Bennett in 1980-81, 25-1 under Randy Bishop in 1986-87 and 18-9 in 1993-94.
n Casey went 25-3 in 1998-99 and 24-3 in 1996-97.
n Paris finished 30-1 under Bret Brown in 1970-71 and 24-6 in 2002-03.
n In 2001-02, Robinson ended up 29-3.
n Formerly in the Tribune-Star’s coverage area, Chrisman compiled records of 26-1 under Roger Beals in 1991-92, 27-4 in 1994-95 and 23-5 in 2006-07.
n Finally, Palestine went 19-9 in 1984-85. But what really grabbed my attention was a 0-23 campaign for the Pioneers in 1995-96.
All these numbers are fun for sports reporters to write about and fun for fans to talk about, but they’re not what Marshall coach Tom Brannan is focused on this week.
“To be honest, I haven’t really thought too much about it,” he said Thursday. “I have to say, we really are just taking it one game at a time.”
Still, it looks like 30 — Paris’ number of triumphs in ’70-71 — is a reasonable goal for the 2008-09 Lions.
“I’ve got a great feeling,” Brannan admitted. “I hope we’ve got a few more [wins] to put on there.”
But first things first. Marshall vs. Teutopolis is slated for 7:30 CST tonight. The winner will advance to the Robinson Sectional next week.
Back in November, Marshall defeated Teutopolis 63-45 in the championship game of the Capital Classic at Lawrenceville. A victory would give the Lions their first regional title since 1994.
David Hughes can be reached by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224; by e-mail at email@example.com; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.