A Night of Champions

Mercy High School recognizes the 1977 and 1982 State Championship basketball teams during Friday night’s home game against Regina High School

Both teams smile and pose with their trophies for family members and fans to snap pictures. (Photo credit: Molly Lyons)

On Jan. 9, Mercy High School welcomed home players, coaches, and key supporters of the 1977 and 1982 State Championship basketball teams to dinner and to watch the varsity basketball game play Regina High School. These two veteran teams helped to pave the way to a successful program, and were honored during halftime.

“It was fun to see the teams reunite together,” said junior Katie Coe. “When I see those State Championship banners hanging in the gym, I’m immediately inspired and determined to accomplish that some day.”

In 1977 and 1982, basketball was a fall sport. Both teams achieved stellar records and took home the Class A State Championship title.

Current Associate Principal of Operations, Larry Baker, coached the two teams. His time and dedication inspired the players to compete intensely and work hard.

The 1977 team went undefeated during regular season and tournament play. The team faced Detroit Mumford in the finals at Michigan State’s Jenison Field House. Behind at halftime, the team launched its tough, full-court press to win with a 63-52 victory.

The 1982 team suffered only one loss during its entire season. In the finals, the team gathered at Calihan Hall to compete against Flint Northern. In the final seven minutes, Mercy trailed by 18 points. Many believed the game to be over, but once the full-court press was performed, Mercy was able to regain those points to secure a 61-58 victory.

“I remember the game very clearly,” said then-player Terri Murray ’86. “We were down by a lot and we couldn’t seem to find the basket. But after we started pressing the other team, I knew a championship title was in our reach.”

Aside from being an alum of the Mercy basketball program, she is also the mother of current Mercy forward, junior Claire Murray, which gives her another chance to participate in the thrill and intensity of the program.

“It’s fun to see my daughter, Claire, out there,” she said. “I’m happy she has found similar happiness in the program and fun in the game.”

Mr. Baker retired from coaching after the 1997 season.

“I think the reunion event was very enjoyable,” said Mr. Baker. “I believe everyone had a marvelous time. Some of us had not seen each other for 30 years or more.”

Mr. Gary Morris has coached the varsity team since 2004. In recent years, the program has seen much success, including advancing to the Final Four in 2014 and winning many Catholic League and District titles.

The success the 1977 and 1982 teams had will not be forgotten and will continue to serve as a model for current and future Mercy basketball teams to look up to.

“I think that it is important that alumnae always feel connected to the school,” said Mr. Baker. “Once a Mercy girl, always a Mercy girl.”