Manchester High School will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its 1974 Class AA state championship boys basketball team tonight between the varsity and junior-varsity games against visiting Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy.
The Panthers and Royals are set to meet in a Principals Athletic Conference game at 7:30 p.m. Before the tip-off, Manchester will commemorate the 1974 team, which was led by coach Bernie Conley (deceased) and assistant coach Bill Just (deceased).
The Panthers went 26-0 in 1974 and won the Class AA (midsized schools) state title. Manchester defeated Cincinnati McNicholas 75-58 in a state semifinal and beat Columbus Bishop Hartley 72-52 in the state title game.
Mike Phillips, a two-time Class AA Player of the Year and a prep All-American, will be among the former players in attendance tonight. Phillips, a 6-foot-11 and 245-pound senior center, scored 38 points in the state title game, which is now the 13th-most points scored in a boys state final or semifinal tournament game in any division or class.
Phillips finished his career with 2,573 points, which was recognized at the time as the state record, having bested Jerry Lucas’ total of 2,460 points from 1955-58 at Middletown. It was later discovered that Rex Leach at old Vienna High (now Vienna Mathews) from 1951-55 had scored 2,581 points, and he was recognized as the new state record-holder. Phillips is now No. 6 on the all-time list.
Phillips starred for four years at the University of Kentucky and was part of the school’s 1978 national championship team. He was drafted by the NBA’s New Jersey Nets in the third round in 1978 but never played for them. He ended up playing in European pro leagues for 15 years. He now lives in Madisonville, Ky. Manchester was 82-11 overall during the Phillips era (1970-74).
Several other players from the 1974 team are expected to be in attendance today.
The other starters on the 1974 team were 6-foot senior guards Jeff Roberts and Jack Sliger, 6-6 junior forward Tom Thompson and 6-3 junior forward Tim Neff.
Key reserves were: 5-8 senior guard Bob Eckert, 6-3 senior forward Larry Simmons, 5-10 senior guard Joe Schler, 5-9 senior guard Gary Edwards, 6-0 senior forward Bill Dover, 6-0 senior forward Mike Arnold and 6-3 freshman center Brian Thompson.
Eckert went on to have a successful career as Manchester’s girls basketball coach.
City Series update
Buchtel will host Firestone tonight and Ellet on Saturday in key City Series boys basketball games. The Griffins (11-3, 7-0) defeated Kenmore 74-62 Tuesday with three players in double figures: junior Deric Rucker (18 points), senior Tre’ Smith (15 points) and junior Jared Puryear (12 points).
The Firestone girls team (13-5, 11-0) continues to lead in the City Series behind the all-around play of junior Darian Carter, who had a triple-double (22 points, 23 rebounds and 12 steals) in a 75-53 win over North on Monday.
Sign here please
The following area senior football players have made college commitments: Archbishop Hoban: Vince Buzzi (Ave Maria University in Florida). Brecksville: Colton Czack (Duquesne), Troy Lang (Notre Dame Ohio), Jay Rose (Hillsdale) and Tim Tupa (Navy). Brunswick: Jesse Persic (Bluffton). Cloverleaf: Tom Wangler (West Liberty University). Massillon: Leslie Dudley (Malone). Medina: Jerry Klue (Northwesten) and Greg Phillips (Ohio Dominican). Northwest: Tristan Mullane (Malone). Revere: Everett McGregor (Denison). Streetsboro: Nick Fazio (Charleston). Strongsville: Brandon Bailey (Lake Erie), Clay Caruso (Columbia), Jacob Oblak (Ashland) and Nolan Ross (Wisconsin).
Malone also added Bryan Jones to its football roster. Jones, a Northwest High School graduate, competed for the University of Akron track and field team and was the 2012 Mid-American Conference Decathlon champion, a two-time Academic All-American and a 2013 NCAA regional qualifier. He played quarterback at Northwest and passed for 3,030 yards and 29 touchdowns. He will have the eligibility of a junior.
Rivals meet on mat
St. Vincent-St. Mary will host Archbishop Hoban and Walsh Jesuit in a wrestling tri-match Saturday. Competition starts at 5 p.m.
Michael Beaven can be reached at email@example.com.