Welcome to the second century of Greely basketball. In Greely High School: A Brief History of Its People, Its Times and Its Buildings we found a mention of Greely's first team. The research was done by Christopher Hyde and presented to a Greely Alumni Association banquet in 1991.
"Greely students were playing basketball in Union Hall by 1911 when it was still the church vestry," he told the audience. "Prior to that time, since the first game in 1904, they had played outdoors."
We don't know if the first game was played in the spring or fall of 1904. Since seasons usually begin before Christmas we are assuming that was the case in 1904. Based on that assumption, this is the one-hundredth season of basketball at Greely.
According to Mr. Hyde, the game had moved inside by 1911. He wrote, "Try to imagine playing a night game by kerosene lanterns with wise shields around them. There was an added hazard in the winter of the two wood-burning stoves, one at each end of the court. These also had wire protectors, but to be fouled out must have been a painful experience. In spite of these conditions, or maybe because of them, the school fielded three championship teams in as many years, ending with the Cumberland County Conference Trophy in 1929." According to the town history compiled and edited by Phyllis Sturdivant Sweetser, Greely retired that trophy by winning the title three years in a row.
In 1937, at the height of the depression, a Franklin Delano Roosevelt inspired federal program helped our basketball program. The Public Works Administration funded half the cost of Gyger Gymnasium, which opened on June 9, 1939. It was named for Superintendent of Schools, John T. Gyger who died just one week before its dedication.
We chose 1961 to begin the "Modern Era" of Greely Basketball. In 1961, The State Principals' Association began using Heal Points to determine which teams would go to the tournament.
The Rangers won the State Championship in 1963. It looks like a bit of a surprise on paper as the Rangers posted a 9-7 regular season record although they did manage to finish third in Heal Points. They cruised through the tournament beating Richmond 41-22 and Leavitt 51-38. The final against Cinderella Wells (seeded 8th) was a thriller. Harvey Moynihan came off the bench to score 18 points in the 54-53 win. Terry Jewett and Moynihan scored to give the Rangers a 54-49 lead with thirty seconds to go. Wells got the last two hoops but it was too little too late.
In the state championship game at Lewiston, the Rangers took on an outstanding Milo team that was favored in newspaper coverage of the day. Trailing 40-34 with less than six minutes remaining, Greely scored eleven of the game's final thirteen points to win 45-42. Co-Captain Gordon Mason keyed the comeback with five free throws.
By 1964, some Triple C teams were boycotting the Gyger Gym. SAD 51 was formed. A new high school and gymnasium were built in 1966.
The Rangers made the jump to Class B in 1974 and did so seamlessly in terms of athletic success. Greely went to its first "B" tournament seeded #2 and lost in the semi-finals to a great Camden Rockport team which went on to win the state championship.
The first girls' tournament was played in 1975. At this time the boys' tournament was being played at Edward Little High School. The tournament was in Augusta by 1978, the next time the Rangers qualified.
Bob Leighton left the program after the 1979 season and was replaced by Gerry Wiles. He continued Greely's record of success for the next eight seasons. He also hired Ken Marks as his assistant. Ken took over as head coach in the fall of 1987.
The rest is history being written. Greely won more Class B games and state championships than other Maine school in the 1990's. From 1995-1998, Greely went on a remarkable run compiling a record of 76-9 and winning three state titles. The 1997 team was statistically the best ever compiling an unblemished 22-0 record (156.733 Heal Points) and winning the state title by fourteen points over Bucksport.