The Voice of the Bellwood-Antis Student Body

The BluePrint

The Voice of the Bellwood-Antis Student Body

The BluePrint

The Voice of the Bellwood-Antis Student Body

The BluePrint

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73-74 team won 22 in a row and copped 2 JVL crowns
The+1973-1974+Boys+Varsity+basketball+team.
1974 BA yearbook
The 1973-1974 Boys Varsity basketball team.

In February of 1974, the Bellwood-Antis boys varsity basketball team made history after an incredible victory against Williamsburg in February, marking the 22nd win of its first perfect regular season since 1947. The unparalleled squad, under the leadership of Mike Sakash, went on a journey so great that even to this day, a full half-century later, no B-A boys basketball record has surpassed it.

The group  had already won the school’s first Juniata Valley League championship in 23 years a season prior during 1972-73, leaving an indelible mark on Bellwood-Antis basketball history. B-A earned a repeat championship in 1973-74.

The Bellwood-Antis basketball team of 1974 will be recognized for its gold anniversary at a home basketball game this season. The district is planning a ceremony for the Blue Devils’ January 12 game against Juniata Valley.

The ‘74 basketball team achieved the longest winning streak in Bellwood boys history and was widely known as a formidable opponent across Pennsylvania. They scored an unbelievable 109 points against Claysburg in January of 1974, shattering the school record for the highest points scored in one game. During that same season, the Devils went over 80 points five times.

The team in 73-74 could score with anyone, averaging 71 points per game. Four of the five starters averaged double digits and the fifth was just a couple baskets shy of that mark.

Sakash, the future B-A principal, with only three years of head coaching experience  led the team, along with Greg Perry, who was then a young math teacher. The team’s players included Michael Moses, Lee Gingery, Ted Mclellan, Bruce Clark, Daryl Nearhoof, Joe Delgrosso, Thomas Otto, Carl Crider, Dean Shaffer, Gary Hribik, and Calvin Shoenberger. The team’s two managers, Ricky Sprankle and R. Dillen, played a pivotal role in the group’s accomplishments, as well, offering support and invaluable contributions. 

From its first game against Moshannon Valley in November to its last regular season game against Williamsburg in February, the 1973-1974 Bellwood boy’s varsity basketball team proved to be the greatest of all time. The only prize that eluded the team was a District 6 crown. That season, B-A was upset in the first round of the playoffs by Bishop Guilfoyle, which went on to finish No. 3 in the state.

“The young men have worked hard to be successful, and by giving that extra effort, they have achieved it, for Bellwood-Antis and themselves!” Coach Sakash said in 1974.

The team in 73-74 could score with anyone, averaging 71 points per game. Four of the five starters averaged double digits and the fifth was just a couple baskets shy of that mark.

Otto was named the Juniata Valley League MVP that season after averaging 15.6 points and 9.3 assists per game. Shoenberger was the MVP as a junior during B-A’s  72-73 JVL title season, and he followed it up by averaging 13.7 points and 14.8 rebounds as a senior, when he made all-conference.

Hribik, the lone junior starter, led the team in scoring with 410 points, which averaged out to 17.8 per game. He also made first team JVL, as he did during his senior season in 1974-75.

Crider and Nearhoof were JVL honorable mentions. Nearhoof averaged 12 points per game and Crider pitched in 9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

The BluePrint will have more on this team and on the recognition ceremony as the event draws nearer.

 

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About the Contributor
Kevin Liang, Staff Writer
Kevin Liang Grade 12 Years in BluePrint: 1 What you hope to do this year: To create the best articles and receive rewards. Outside activities: Working at Texas Roadhouse. Why did you take BluePrint: I wanted to contribute to the student news.

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    Gary HribikNov 22, 2023 at 2:31 pm

    Everyone should know that all those points we scored were before the 3 point shot came into effect.

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