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31 Jul

Perfection Rewarded, Kansas Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

The McGlynn: That’s My Brother!!!

     Further, I am his older brother. He was taught

     to shoot, at age four,  in the kitchen with a basketball hoop

     on the door.

Leavenworth Times, By Sara Mettlen

Leavenworth, Kan.

A perfect season, a state title and now, a spot in the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

The memories run deep for the 1962 Immaculata boys basketball team, and with good reason, they achieved something few teams have and are now being honored by the KBCA for their sterling season.

“We feel like it’s a great honor,” Joe Brown, the coach of the 1962 Raider team, said. “It came kind of out of the blue, … but we certainly do appreciate it. It’s a great honor.”

The team went 26-0 in 1962, earning a 75-62 win over St. Mary’s High School from Pittsburg in the championship game of the state tournament.

“Joe was a terrific coach and we just had a real balanced team,” Jerry Reilly, a member of the ‘62 Raider squad recalled. “It was a terrific group, we had a unique group of guys and we were truly a team of 10 individuals. We had terrific depth, we full-court pressed and fast broke every game because we had 10 good players and we’d just rotate in.”

In fact, St. Mary’s loss in the state championship was only the team’s second loss of the season in 1962, and both came at the hands of the Raiders. After their induction into the KBCA Hall of Fame on Aug. 4, the Immaculata team will appropriately be commemorated with a plaque at the Hall of Fame that is located in the Hutchinson Sports Arena where they won the state title.

“What I really remember about the season is that we didn’t play all that well in the state tournament,” Reilly said. “We won the first game by about four or five points, then we really played better in the last three quarters of the final game to win by 13 points.”

As the first Leavenworth team to win a state basketball title — and now the first to be inducted into the hall of fame — Reilly said the team was widely celebrated in town after completing their perfect season.

“When we got back from Hutchinson they had a parade for us, lined up as we came down Fourth Street,” Reilly said. “At that time we were the only state champion in Leavenworth and we’re still the only undefeated one.

“It was just a great year, everyone worked hard and played together. It was just a blast to go undefeated. As the season went on, each game the pressure got greater because everyone was trying to knock you off. It was a great time and the whole town got behind us.”

Adding to the memory of the state tournament run, Reilly added, was winning the title on St. Patrick’s Day.

“We won it on St. Patrick’s Day, that was kind of interesting,” he said, meaning the Raiders’ green team color was already popular that day. “St. Pat was looking after us.”

Brown, who coached at Immaculata from 1957-1963, said he was confident in the team’s abilities before the season was even under way.

“We knew we would have a good season, we had only lost two from the previous year,” Brown said. “You can never predict being that good, but we knew we’d be good and that was part of why we toughened up our schedule.”

Brown said the tough schedule was part of what helped the Raiders be such a strong team come tournament time. Beefing up the schedule, he said, meant playing several larger schools, including Blue Springs. With several quality opponents, Brown and Reilly both said the team had several close games along the way of the unbeaten season.

“It was a great run, we played some games that were very close,” Reilly said, noting matchups with Tonganoxie where the Chieftain coach elected to stall to try to thwart the Raiders’ run-and-gun style.

“We played Tonganoxie five times,” Brown said. “And the last one was in the finals of regionals so we beat them to make it to state.”  

Both Reilly and Brown agree that it was the depth of the team that made them so potent.

“We had most of the kids back from the previous year, and we were real well-rounded,” Brown said. “We didn’t have a top scorer, we had several guys who were the high-point man at different parts of the year. We played eight kids pretty regularly, and it wasn’t always the same starting lineup, they all rotated in.”

Reilly said the team also had good chemistry as they came up through the CYO League together.

“Back then we had four grades schools that feed Immaculata,” Reilly explained. “We all played in the CYO League on separate teams and then merged at Imac. We had a lot of good talent. We all came up through CYO and played together for years.”

Reilly said the group had other great seasons at Immaculata as well, although none were quite as big as 1962.

“I’m not sure, but I think we only lost nine games total in four years,” he said. “It was just a unique group and we were all good players but there weren’t any superstars.”

The team will be officially inducted into the hall of fame at a reception that will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4 at Washburn University’s Union in Topeka before the KBCA All-star games that evening. Brown, as well as players Reilly, Larry Guenther, Bob McGlinn, Bob Lahiff, Ray Graf and John Sloan will attend the ceremony.

“It definitely does (make it more special to have so many going to the event),” Brown said. “It’s neat to have that happen.”

With five of those six players from the 1962 team still living in the area, Reilly said they still get to see one another around town on occasion.

“We do see each other throughout the year,” Reilly said.

It was another local basketball fixture, Leavenworth High School’s longtime boys basketball coach Larry Hogan, who nominated the Immaculata team to be honored.

“I thought that was really nice that he did that,” Reilly said.

The Pioneers’ Kyle Wiggins will play in the KBCA All-star game at approximately 8 p.m. on Aug. 4, the boys contest following the girls game slated for a 6 p.m. start.

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