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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Was 1992 the Greatest Season of Wayne/Holmes County Basketball History?

Just thinking out loud here.

Great article in today's Daily Record about Northwestern guard Brennan McKean closing in on his school's scoring record. Orrville fans got to see him up-close and personal last weekend, so no more really needs to be said about his talent...only that I hope he "takes his talents to Beall Avenue" and plays for the College of Wooster next season.

As an accompaniment to the article was a list of the top 25 scorers in area history. It's stat-geekery gold for someone like me. The list is littered with names from the past and present that any area hoops fan would immediately recognize.

What also jumped out at me was the number of great players that all happened to graduate in 1992. Look at these names and their ranking on the all-time area top 25.

#7 - Kevin Summers - Orrville - 1,681 Career Points
#8 - Ben Swisher - Triway - 1,650 Career Points
#9 - Junior Raber - Hiland - 1,635 Career Points
#20 - Jason Workman - Central Christian - 1,353 Career Points

All but Workman from Central got the honor of playing on a Final Four team, and in Summers and Raber's case, the honor of hoisting a state title.  Swisher was a junior on Triway's 1991 Final Four team.

That's another thing.  Hiland (Div. 4) and Orrville (Div. 3) both won state titles in 1992.  So not only did you have four great scorers on four different teams, but you also had two area teams win state titles the very same season.

You also had some of the greatest coaches this area has ever seen that season, and in the 80's and 90's in general.  Smitty here at Orrville, Randy Montgomery at Triway, Perry Reese at Hiland and current Orrville girls coach Mark Alberts Sr. at Wooster. Some required reading on Coach Reese's legacy, 10 years after his death, can be read here.

I don't think it's hyperbole to call 1991-92 the greatest season of area basketball we've ever witnessed.

The 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons were great in their own right with Orrville and Dalton both reaching the Final 4 and great players like Ryan Berg, Marcell Denson and Renauld Ray lighting up scoreboards, and I'm sure you could make a case for some of the great Northwestern teams, but I don't think either match the breadth and depth of the 1991-92 season in terms of so many area players and teams excelling at such a high level.

Even if the list didn't contain a single Orrville player, I'd still feel the same way. 

UPDATE: Here's the list from the Daily Record showing the top 25 all-time scorers. Click to view full-size.

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