Before they met on Jan. 16, the Br. Rice and Marist basketball teams had essentially played each other to a stalemate over the last 27 years.
Just look at the numbers.
From 1990-2017, Br. Rice won 15 times, while Marist won 14 times.
Br. Rice had totaled 1,717 points, with Marist 1 point behind at 1,716.
How crazy is that?
That time period also factors in the one time the two teams met in the postseason in 2012, when Marist, on its home court, defeated the Crusaders.
Marist evened things up with a 10-point win in the latest showdown on Jan. 16—so the RedHawks are now “ahead” by 9 points since 1990.
The astonishing numbers between the Mt. Greenwood neighbors got me thinking about other impressive statistics that pop up for our local high school teams.
Take a look. Some of these might be well known. A few others have flown under the radar.
–The Morgan Park High School boys basketball team has won three Class 3A state titles over the last five years, and the Mustangs are the favorites to win another this year. Coach Nick Irvin has established a dynasty, as his team also finished third in 2015. In planning ahead for March, it is almost required that the editorial staff of The Beverly Review mark down in permanent marker that they’ll be covering Morgan Park at the state finals in Peoria.
–The Mt. Carmel football team piled up historic numbers under Coach Frank Lenti, who is not returning to the program after 34 years. He won 11 state titles, and he led the Caravan to 30 straight state-playoff appearances.
Both achievements were well publicized when it was announced his tenure was over. But here’s one that didn’t get as much attention: Lenti made the state semifinals 23 times. For most teams, advancing that far is a historic achievement. For Lenti, it was the norm.
–Mother McAuley’s volleyball program has won 15 state titles. That’s remarkable in itself, but consider this: the next-best total is Wheaton St. Francis, which has 12 titles, but some of those came in the smaller-enrollment classes. After that, no school has more than four titles.
–The St. Ignatius girls water polo team has made the state finals nine seasons in a row and 13 times in the past 14 years. The water polo state tournament is usually held during prom season. Having to race around the Chicago area getting to meets and prom during May is a problem the Wolfpack probably enjoys.
–A local baseball team has won a Class 4A sectional title nine years in a row—and most years, it has been the most competitive sectional in the state. Marist, St. Laurence, St. Rita and Mt. Carmel have all won sectionals during that span, and St. Rita and Mt. Carmel have advanced to state championships.
Just like the coverage of the Morgan Park boys basketball team, in early June it’s customary for The Review staff to expect to be busy covering a local baseball team making a deep postseason run.
Perhaps even more impressive is that these stats will continue to improve because these programs are enjoying or likely to enjoy a successful 2017-18 campaign.
But for now, local basketball fans will keep their pencils sharp while keeping track of the stats between Br. Rice and Marist. They are in the same basketball sectional this year, so they could theoretically butt heads again in about six weeks when March Madness is in full swing.
Although numbers don’t lie, much more than wins and losses will be on the line the next time the Crusaders and RedHawks compete; bragging rights add up to school spirit and community pride.
That leaves me asking one question: is it March yet?