Sports

It’s old home week for Spartan girls hoops

Britt Themann, who led BHS to the state title in 1999, will be among the Spartan girls basketball alums who will return to the island for a reunion this weekend. Themann went on to be an academic standout at Tulane University, and set that basketball program’s mark for all-time three-point shooting percentage. - Courtesy of Tulane University
Britt Themann, who led BHS to the state title in 1999, will be among the Spartan girls basketball alums who will return to the island for a reunion this weekend. Themann went on to be an academic standout at Tulane University, and set that basketball program’s mark for all-time three-point shooting percentage.
— image credit: Courtesy of Tulane University

The hoops stars of yesteryear return for an alumnae game

and awards banquet.

Jack Horishige is a passionate advocate of BHS girls basketball.

He believes that despite its obvious successes – including state championships in 1988, 1989 and 1999 – the program has retained a second-class status.

“The girls have never been recognized as much as the boys,” he said.

But Horishige, who has coached scores of future Spartans at the intermediate school level through AAU programs, is no hand-wringer.

A chance meeting with statistician extraordinaire Roger Miller two years ago crystallized an idea he’d already been mulling: a reunion of as many as possible of the nearly 200 girls who have hit the hardwood as Spartan hoopsters.

During the long Fourth of July weekend, this idea will come to fruition.

Highlighted by up to six hours of alumnae tournament games at Paski Gymnasium on Saturday, and the unveiling of the all-time Lady Spartan all-star team at a banquet that evening, Horishige and Miller have planned four days of activities to heighten awareness of, and appreciation for, the program’s accomplishments.

Horishige deflects much of the credit for the planning to Miller, describing him as “the key to keeping it going. Without him I probably wouldn’t have continued.”

Miller, in turn, defers to Horishige.

“It was his idea,” he said. “I helped him with names and putting stats together.”

Both agree on one thing.

“It’ll be great for these younger kids to see women in their 50s such as Kerry Keefe, one of the highest-ranked women lawyers,” Miller said.

Horishige chuckles as he recalls the countless hours he spent trying to track down everyone who has played Spartan varsity roundball.

“You don’t know what it’s like,” he said. “I knew that some still lived around here. After that, I went through phone books and word of mouth. A lot of them have married, which made them even harder to find. I felt like a detective following leads.”

Current Spartan girls basketball coach Penny Gienger is looking forward to the weekend.

“I think it’s neat,” Gienger said. “I’ve never met some of these legends. It also includes my past. Some of the girls from my first teams and my ’99 (state championship) team will be here.”

Horishige feels confident of a turnout of at least 80, and the total could surpass 100. It’s likely that Washington, D.C.-based Wendy Clark, a standout from the mid-1990s, will have the distinction of traveling the farthest.

With commitments still coming in and a few being forced to withdraw – one attendee had to cancel abruptly when her husband took a job in China – the tournament format is still being determined.

The most likely scenario involves three round-robin games involving players from the 1970s and ’80s, followed by additional games for those from the 1990s and 2000s.

At some point, the projected Spartan 2005-06 lineup will become involved, either playing as a unit against an alumnae team or with its members being distributed among several teams.

Fans are invited to the free event.

“One of my dreams is that the tournament will give the girls a chance to play to a packed house for one time in their lives,” Horishige said. “There are so many new people on the island. They don’t know the history of girls basketball.”

According to Horishige, this history began in the early ’70s with hand-me-down boys JV jerseys and players driving their own cars to hastily arranged games. It didn’t take Bainbridge long to make an impression, as the Spartans finished second in the first state tournament in 1970.

“I want to get everybody to understand what all these girls have done,” Horishige said.

* * * * *

Memory lane

Highlights of the Spartan girls basketball reunion weekend, July 1-4, include:

Friday: 7-11 p.m. – Social gathering for players, coaches, family and friends at Isla Bonita restaurant; snacks provided.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Alumnae tournaments at Paski Gymnasium gym; 6-9 p.m. – Buffet dinner at BHS; open to all Lady Spartans, significant others and parents. Guest speakers will include Karen Paterson, Kerry Keefe and Britt Themann, followed by an awards ceremony. Cost is $10 per person for dinner/banquet.

Sunday: 12-2:30 p.m. – Nine holes of golf at Meadowmeer Golf Course; 2-5 p.m. – Family picnic at Battle Point Park; food and drinks available.

Information: www.ladysparts.blogspot.com

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 17 edition online now. Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates