BY MIKE MARZOLF
Special to the Tribune
The streak is over. For the first time in 64 games the St. John boys’ basketball team lost. It was only fitting Central Plains was the team to end the streak. Central Plains won 55-48 at St. John Tuesday night.
The Oilers have lost eight games the past two years and seven of those were to St. John. Two years ago St. John beat Central Plains in the sub-state finals and last year in the 2A state title game. The Oilers were the second best team in the state both years.
So to finally get that win over Tigers and break the longest winning streak in the history of Kansas high school boys’ basketball in the process is at least some redemption for the Oilers. St. John had just set the record at 63 with a win over Larned Saturday. It broke a 62-game streak by Wichita Heights. Perry Ellis-led Wichita Heights.
But this will be far from the last chapter between these two this year. There is the Mid-Winter Classic in St. John in January and a return visit to Central Plains. And of course the 2A sub-state.
Buckle up, it should be fun to watch these two go at it again this year.
Way to go Carly Brack. The sophomore for Great Bend hit a game-winning shot at the buzzer Friday night to beat Junction City. It capped a 26-point night for her. It was the second time this year she gave the 3-1 Panthers a win in the final seconds.
I am not at all surprised. Being the same age as my daughter and going to the same elementary school – even pre-school together here at Barton – I’ve seen Carly play basketball several times. She was always one of it not the best player on the court through elementary league and middle school.
So in the transition to high school you knew it wouldn’t take long to excel. She is doing that now as part of a pretty darn good Great Bend girls’ team. Carrie Minton’s team is still young but not as young as last year. Several juniors and a couple sophomores return experience from last year.
The team has just two seniors. The Panthers should do nothing but get better and better. A quality schedule will prepare them for late February. It should be a fun season.
Former athlete/coach update
Steve Forbes’ East Tennessee State men’s basketball team got off to a good start. It included a 69-68 win at Georgia Tech. But three straight losses put the Buccaneers under .500 for the season.
Currently his team is sitting at 4-5 with a couple interesting games heading into Christmas. East Tennessee plays at home against Eastern Kentucky tonight then will travel to Knoxville to take on the University of Tennessee Tuesday. That is where Forbes sat as an assistant for five years under Bruce Pearl.
East Tennessee will start its Southern Conference schedule Jan. 2 at Western Carolina.
It is kind of like the Night before Christmas on the hill. Hardly a creature is stirring. Well, soon it will be that way. Friday marks the final day the college will be open until January. So if there is any business you need to take care of before the first Monday in January, now is the time to do it.
I am all about Christmas. It is my favorite time of the year. I have always enjoyed Christmas lights and have fond childhood memories of getting out boxes and boxes of decorations to put around the house. We even had the icicles that hung from the top of the tree. Not the fancy lights, the old shiny tinsel icicle strands.
That is one of the many great things about Christmas – creating memories. Memories that revolve around family. One of my greatest pleasures in life is still creating those memories for my wife and daughter and the rest of the family.
As a child I remember several things about Christmas. One memory was the night I realized that my father and Santa Claus shopped at the same shoe store.
I was probably about six or seven years old. I had just completed another sterling performance at the United Methodist Church Christmas program in Glen Elder. I had sung to the best of my ability. I said my piece as best I could.
Now it was time for Santa Claus to visit. He burst through the double doors with a hearty ho-ho-ho. He was carrying his red bag of goodies. I knew it was probably a chocolate bar or something, but it didn’t matter. The only thing that really mattered is that it was Santa Claus. You only get to see him so often, you know.
As I sat in my pew and waited my turn I looked at his shoes. Wow, my father had that same pair of shoes. Isn’t that just crazy? They weren’t just your normal everyday shoes. They were short boots that zipped. They must shop at the same store.
That was the night I learned Santa had helpers. Merry Christmas.