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Girmindl's Ghost

A diary of Shaker High School's 2005-2006 basketball season, a retelling of Shaker's fabled 1979-1980 season, and general commentary on high school hoops, updated daily...

"I like sitting in the back row. I found that sitting against the wall is just easier on your back." -Dean Smith, on the comfort of the H-gym bleachers

Banner scandal, confirmed!

Banner Scandal, confirmed: Continuing on a story from yesterday's mailbag, it turns out I was correct about the current banner hanging in the H-gym new gym. It is wrong. I can’t remember when that banner went up – it wasn’t that long ago that they replaced them, maybe 2 or 3 years ago. But they definitely blew it.

I was over at the high school yesterday for an interview with Coach Holmes, so I took a picture of the banner:

You can see that it lists sectional championships for 1978, 1979, 1991, and 1992. But Shaker has only won the sectional title twice – 1979 and 1992. So how did the 1978 and 1991 years get up there? Homes offered his own take on the mystery, which makes sense to me:
I think what happened is that whoever made the banner asked what years we won the section, and was told ’78-79 and 91-92,’ [in reference to the academic years]. They misinterpreted that to mean all four years.
Hilarious, but also cruel. Because in a just world where the best team always won, Shaker would have 4 sectional titles – 1977, 1979, 1980, and 1981. In those four years, they were the top seed in sectionals:

In 1977, they were 19-1 going into the sectional final, but got blown out by a pretty good, but completely beatable, Albany High team, 78-62. Shaker’s leading scorer – 6’10” junior Dave Cole – was held to just 7 points. (Yeah, i know. Can you imagine if Cole was just a few years younger and played with Perkins and Cain? Now that frontline would have been unreal.)

In 1979 they won the section after an undefeated regular season. We’ve discussed that in detail before. Greatest final in section 2 history.

In 1980, well, that’s half of what this blog is all about, so I’m not going to give anything away there. Go read the daily recaps, the ’79-80 topics, and the namesake essay to wet your lips. Girmindl’s Ghost will deal with their sectional run in March.

In 1981, they were again 19-1 going into sectionals, but were upset in the second round by a miserable Albany High team. Leading 50-45 with a minute to go (and no 3-point line on the court), they missed three consecutive front ends of 1-and-1’s (including one with under 10 seconds to go, leading 50-49), and lost 51-50.

Ugh. Just shoot me. That’s right, they were a combined 78-2 in the regular seasons of ’77,’79,’80, and ’81, and they got the title once. Once.

As long as we're talking history, we might as well do the whole thing. Three other times in the last 30 years – 1976, 1992, and 1994 – they were legitimate contenders. Maybe not the best team, but certainly a factor***:

In 1976, they made the sectional finals with a 14-6 record, but lost to top-seeded Albany High in a very tight finish, 71-68. Down 52-39, they took the lead late in the 3rd after going on a 14-0 run. But they couldn’t keep it.

In 1992, they won, although they probably weren’t the best team – they were something like 15-5 during the regular season. Columbia was 19-2 or so, and CBA was also about 19-2 (although Shaker beat them in the regular season). But the Bison beat CBA in the sectional semis and Columbia by 2 in the finals.

In 1994, Shaker was definitely not the best team – they didn’t even win the Suburban –but they made the sectional finals, only to lose to – you guessed it – Albany High.

So yes, Shaker has had seven good shots at the section - where they were either the best team or made the sectional finals - in the last 30 years. Twice they came away with it. Four times they were turned back by Albany High. And in 1980, well, stayed tuned…

***An argument can be made that they were a factor in 1998, but that’s only if you believe Schenectady could be beaten, which I don't. 1997 is a whole different issue - I simply don't remember. They did win the Suburban, but I can't remember the sectionals. I'll look into it.
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