The 2001-02 SHS Girls Basketball team went 27-5 and
won a regional championship. This team was inducted
in the SHS Athletic Hall of Fame. I’m far right, 2nd row.
(This Blog post was originally written on January 28, 2011. About a couple of years after this post, Bruce Scheidegger died in a auto accident. This occasion was the last time I saw the man that helped launch my high school sports journalism career.)
Tonight is the night where the 2001-02 Sterling HS Girls Basketball team and Wrestling team are inducted into the SHS Athletic Hall of Fame.
As well as two individuals – Amee Binder and Taylor Carbaugh – that were on that girls basketball team that I was a part of. Lynn Siemert, one of the best swimmers in SHS history, was inducted as well.
A lot of memories should re-enter my head from the girls basketball season. I still have the letter from coach Scheidegger asking me if I want to be the manager of that year’s team. I kept it after all these years because it would be a stepping stone for the career I have today as a high school sports journalist.
We started the year winning the New-Mor-Roc-Ster Tournament by going undefeated. I still have the medal somewhere in my boxes; I remember being called down from the camera area at Rock Falls to get it. I didn’t know managers got such medals. Coach told me to tape the medal ceremony, whether or not he planned on tricking me into taping my own reception I don’t know.
I was a very shy person at the time, I still am but was a lot shyer at that time, so I kind of didn’t interact as much amongst the girls as they did themselves. Plus, they were older than I was. However, this was a group that I liked a lot because they were very kind to me despite my shyness and youth. I think this all worked out well during that year’s Valentine’s Day when I decided to make a hefty donation to the Student Council, in the form of $23.00, to send roses to every member of the team.
I remember some of the tough games we had as well. The Sterling Christmas Tournament was just as tough then as it is today. We took third place at the Dixon Tournament a couple of weeks later, and I remember the trophy being one of the biggest I’ve ever seen. That was a third-place trophy! I think I was in charge of caring for it on the ride back home and nearly hit the top of it on the top of the bus. Whoops!
Galesburg was always a tough opponent, and was one of our few losses on the year. During games, I was in charge of videotaping the games. Galesburg was a huge nosebleed up, and the hardest place to tape at. Guilford, too, was a nosebleed at the top.
The trip up to Guilford was an interesting one, because there was construction on Alpine Road at the time. I suggested an alternative route, and coach was sort of worrked that we were not going to make it to the game in time. When we got there, I remember some of the girls on the bus seeing someone taller than even JP Shore. A black kid. The rest can be figured out from there.
Anyway, back to positive memories. We played Chicago Mother McAuley at the Amboy Shootout. I remember seeing the words “Mother McAuley” on the schedule, and thinking there is some nun that is really good at playing basketball. I’ve come a long way in high school sports knowledge. We won that game, and the videotaping setup was weird. I was once again in charge of the plaque on the busride home.
As appreciation for the roses, the girls all gave me a gift bag and signed a card for me. To my dismay, I couldn’t remember which game this was. Another game that I just can’t seem to remember the who and when, but I was invited over to Kim’s house for a postgame gathering.
We hosted the Regional, which we won, and I still have a piece of the net that was cut down. Also in the collection is the piece of net from the Conference win. We beat Sycamore for the Regional title, and I remember seeing a letter from the Sycamore program wishing us well in the Sectional, which was held in DeKalb.
Our first game in the Sectional was against Geneseo, and I remember a familiar chant from the Geneseo student section: 55-0! That was the final score of the infamous football game between the two of us earlier in the year. We beat Geneseo, and it was on to face Moline, a team we lost to in our Christmas Tournament. It ended up being close in the end, but I remember a couple of foul calls (against Amee and Amy) that didn’t look right toward the end. We lost that game, and that was the end of our wonderful season.
Certainly a season I won’t forget.
It was a great time to be a Golden Warrior: not only with our season, but with the Wrestling team advancing to the Elite 8 as a team, and James Wike doing his thing in the pool. Don’t forget, this was before the “S-and-the-dreamcatcher” period. It seemed like things changed after that. I can’t explain the feeling to a whole, but there’s something I miss about it, and something that I like about it.
The program was just starting to rise from the ashes of a once great program of the 1970s and 1980s. This particular season (2001-02) was the one that put us back on the map of top programs in the state. It’s carried on to this day, and a lot of that has to do with something that gets overlooked by most people regarding Sterling Girls Basketball of that year: our sophomore team went a perfect 26-0. That led to even more success over the next few years, eventually going back to the Class AA State Tournament in 2007.
(This year’s team just handed DeKalb its second loss of the year on Saturday (Jan. 29), so perhaps we could see something even more special?)
It felt a little empty during my senior year when I was the only person from that team left at Sterling High. I was the last student link to two other varsity programs (football and volleyball) my senior year. I was still with the people I grew up with, but I really missed those fellow teammates from those years. Two of the seniors I would never see again until our reunion. There are still a few of the girls that I see every now and then.
Me? Well, I eventually moved out of the managerial capacity during my junior year. I was doing more videotaping for Prep Sports Online at that time, as well as occasional scorebook and even announcing (!!!) To think Coach Scheidegger would let me and my nasely voice do that … well, I enjoyed that too. I wonder if the girls still have the PSO highlight video DVD of that year. That’s my cinematography on it. I eventually moved on to the Daily Gazette and wrote for them for a little while before starting Northern Illinois Sports Beat, the website I have to this day. Running that eventually ended my tenure with the program, but I ended up covering a couple of their games.
However, when I think of where I’m at now as a high school sports journalist, a lot of this had to do with the 2001-02 Girls Basketball team. To most of these girls, I was just some little manager wanting to be a part of a team. I don’t think some of them remembered who I was until we were announced at the ceremony. However, these girls have a special place in my heart nonetheless.
It’s good to see that the girls are doing well in their current endeavors. I just wish I would have talked to them a little more that night, as my social skills have diminished a lot since 01-02. I always wish them the best with whatever they do.
Love ‘ya always!