There were high hopes for the 1973 Saint Mark's 8th grade basketball team.
As 7th graders, we had gone undefeated in the 7th grade division of the CAA. In those days, I don't recall any playoffs or city titles to be had for 7th graders.
As 8th graders, we went on a road trip to Eau Claire, Wisconsin to play a game. Our coach, Rob Peick, agreed to play the 9th grade, All-Star team there, seeking more competition for his players. In a closely fought game, we came up on the short-end, losing by a few points. I realize now that he wanted to prevent us from getting too full of ourselves.
The strategy worked!
We played in 3 tournaments that year. Winning all, except one, handily. In the final game of the tournament, at Saint Richard’s School in Richfield, in a preview of the Twin Cities Championship game, we played Saint Anne's School. This team, from North Minneapolis, was led by future De LaSalle standout, Mark James. The final score: Saint Mark's 39, Saint Anne's 38. Led by Greg Gavin, Charlie Hipp, Bob Slater, and Pat Fitzpatrick, our team defeated both Nativity and Saint Luke’s two times. We finished with the St. Paul CAA city championship. We went on to defeat Saint Anne's, the KYCO champ from Minneapolis, again in the TC championship game.
That would have been quite enough. But, Mr. Peick had arranged for us to play the Eau Claire All-Stars one more time. This time they traveled to Saint Paul to play in our gym. In a scrappy game, that was undecided until the final minutes, Saint Mark's avenged its only loss of the season, by only a few points. Our team finished the season with a 29-1 record.
I don't believe it has been matched in the years since then.
John Shrake, '73