Philadelphia High School Basketball
A Look at Simon Gratz High's 107-Game Winning Streak
In Public League Regular Season Games, 1989-1998
This page includes stories, special lists, rotations for all 10 teams and, at the bottom, game-by-game
results with leading scorers. The streak ended with a loss at Dobbins.
Crucial information provided by Tom Taylor.
To provide additions/corrections:firstname.lastname@example.org.
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STREAK BY SEASONS
Gratz' Impressive |
Over the last six games in 1989 through the first three games in 1998, Simon Gratz won 107 consecutive Public League regular season games. In the '89 season, the backcourt starters were twins Mark and Steve Patterson. Here is that story (written shortly before the streak began).
By Ted Silary
Mark Patterson is one inch taller, weighs five more pounds, holds a 2-0 lead
in distinguishing features and is seven minutes older.
This story about star sophomore Rasheed Wallace, a four-year starter during
and later a long-time NBA player, was written in February 1991 . . .
By Ted Silary
Athletes are much like sports writers. Negatives make more of a lasting impression on them than positives.
Rasheed Wallace, the 6-10 sophomore wunderkind from Simon Gratz, has probably forgotten the first point and rebound he
earned last year as a varsity basketball player.
But yesterday, in the waning moments of the Bulldogs' 60-51 Public North triumph at Thomas Edison, Wallace collected a
first he'll never forget - a technical foul.
With 39 seconds left, Wallace and teammate Andre Griffin became tangled while chasing a rebound. When the ball rolled out
of bounds, referee Tom DeFelice awarded possession to Edison. More out of frustration than out of anger at the call, Wallace
gave a hard, one-handed slap to the partition behind the basket.
Tweet! Technical foul.
On Gratz's bench, coach Bill Ellerbee immediately snapped, "Calvin (Wingfield), go get Rasheed."
The walk to the bench was perhaps the longest of Wallace's life. He knew what awaited him - a wicked tongue-lashing
delivered by a man with smoke pouring out of his ears.
"Mr. Ell doesn't like us to get techs," Wallace said. "That's one of the things I have to learn to control, my temper. Even
though I know I'm not supposed to do it, when the game's tight near the end, stuff bothers me more. I get too emotional.
That comes out more than my hard play."
Minus the blue streaks, Wallace said Ellerbee's message was rather succinct.
"Mr. Ell said I have to learn to control my temper," Rasheed said. "He said I have a long way to go in the basketball field,
that I just can't do things like that. He said people could put a label on me that I talk to the refs, or get carried away
emotionally. That's one thing I don't need, he said."
Wallace, who is ranked by most recruiting services among the top five sophomores in the country, garnered 14 points,
8 rebounds and 2 blocked shots against the Owls.
Like always, he showed great athleticism for someone so tall so early (he won't turn 17 until Sept. 17). His jump-shooting
skills, especially on short turnarounds, have improved greatly since last season.
Wallace was dissatisfied with his showing. Wilfred Kirkaldy, the 6-9 blacksmith, was back in Brooklyn tending to family
business and Wallace felt he should have done a stronger job on the boards.
"When Will's here, we get about 10 boards apiece," Wallace said. "With him not here, the guys were looking for me to
pick up the slack. Edison was sending five guys to the boards. It felt like five-on-one. But still, I should have done a better
job. I still have to learn more about boxing out."
Though Gratz had won its first seven league games by an average of 40 points, the Owls were not impressed. Nor
Take that No. 6 national ranking (in USA Today) somewhere else. Here it means nothing.
As point guard Dennis Caldwell (25 points) and wing sniper Mike Urqurhart (11) led the way, Edison was very much
thinking upset with 4 1/2 minutes left, with the deficit at only one point, 49-48. However, 6-6 junior Lamar Poole and
Caldwell would foul out in the next three minutes and the Owls would get no more field goals.
"Every team we play, it's like their Super Bowl, their championship," Wallace said. "Teams come at us. It would be so
good for their school to beat us. This probably happened because we felt we could come in here and walk all over them.
The only time we can do that is when we play our butts off in the first quarter. That's when we can have fun."
This story was written in 1994 after the
Bulldogs keep the streak alive with a
two-point win over Franklin Learning Center . . .
By Ted Silary
One star missed from the right. The other missed from the left.
Then, the buzzer droned, substitutes of the winning team burst onto the court to hug and jump all over the starters,
the coach of the losing team zipped from spot to spot to rage to anyone who would listen about what he said was a
non-call, TV cameras began capturing the various scenes and . . . and . . .
Those with presence of mind began to think about Feb. 27, and how much fun they could have at a rematch.
Feb. 27 is the date of the Public League basketball championship game, which will be played at the Civic Center.
In one corner could be Simon Gratz. In the other, thanks to prearranged bracketing, could be Franklin Learning Center.
Those two teams, which have played in the last four title games (with Gratz winning three), clashed yesterday in a
Division B-C regular-season game before 1,500 energized fans at the Community College of Philadelphia. No one
asked for his money back.
Gratz won, 48-46, by surviving one last shot apiece from 6-4 guard Rasiheed ''Noot" Arnold and 6-7 forward
Michael Robinson, who had combined for all but six of FLC's points.
With 17 seconds remaining, Gratz point guard Shawn "Reds" Smith went to the line for a one-and-one at the 17th
Street end of the gym. Three feet behind the baseline were FLC fans, lined up three-deep, who already had poured
out of the stands. They booed and waved as Smith shot, then rejoiced when he missed and FLC's Joe Brown grabbed
his game-high 12th rebound at 0:16 and called time.
What would FLC do?
"We thought they'd go for a three-pointer," Gratz center Lynard Stewart said. "They didn't want to settle for two
Said Gratz coach Bill Ellerbee: "If we had decided to protect the basket, they would have raised up for a 'three.'
Actually, I thought about fouling them . . . Fleetingly."
All five Bobcats touched the ball on the last possession. Hassan Ravenell inbounded to Brown, who passed back
to Ravenell under backcourt pressure; Ravenell passed ahead to Satu Divine, who passed ahead to Arnold beyond
midcourt on the right. Arnold dribbled toward the baseline, then released a 10-foot jumper and saw it miss long.
Robinson grabbed the rebound on the left side, stepped back 3 feet, then launched a 12-foot jumper.
It, too, was long.
As soon as the final rebound went to Gratz's Michael Blunt, the first question became, had Robinson been fouled
"Tell me one thing: Why didn't they call a foul there?" FLC coach Pete Merlino bellowed.
When Robinson was asked whether he thought he'd been fouled, he shot back, ''I know I was. But I ain't mad.
We'll get another shot at them."
When the subject was broached with Stewart, he said, "No. Uh-uh. He got that off clean. " He later added, "The
ref wasn't going to make that call at the end. If I did foul him, it wasn't very hard. Not enough to call it, anyway."
Putting too much stock in comparative scores can be dangerous, but one might have expected a comfortable win
The Bulldogs (22-3) twice had extended powerful Rice Catholic, of Manhattan, and Rice had blitzed FLC (15-7)
by 36 points. In B-C play, Gratz generally had experienced the easier time.
"If somebody woke those guys up at 4 in the morning and told them they played Gratz at 5, they'd be ready,"
Gratz played with poise and confidence while building a 21-11 lead 1:16 into the second quarter. But when Stewart
then picked up two quick fouls (he did not leave the game), FLC's spirits brightened. By halftime, the Bobcats were
ahead, 28-27, thanks to Robinson's last-second follow.
Ellerbee went exclusively with man-to-man in the second half and put Stewart on Robinson.
In all, Robinson shot 9-for-19 from the floor and 2-for-2 for the line for 24 points. He was 4-for-7 on "threes."
He was so deep on the "three" he hit with 24 seconds left, drawing FLC within 48-46, he should have earned four
"I was standing at the arc," Stewart said. "He took it back to NBA distance."
Said Ellerbee: "Lynard was with him. They were both in the stratosphere. I didn't know Mike had those kind of
'hops.' Just to be able to take that shot was amazing.
"When it looked like he was going to be on the perimeter, I put (6-2 forward) Brian Samuels on him. Then he took
Brian inside for two baskets and I said, 'Guess we'll have to go with Lynard. ' Then he takes Lynard way out and
hits 'threes.' Can't have everything."
Robinson said he backed up before his final attempt because he was regaining his balance after reaching to grab the
"If I'm squared up for my shot," he said, "90 percent of them are going to go in."
Nearby, a listener nodded approvingly and purred, "Go 'head, Mike. "
"My fans love me," Robinson said.
Arnold finished with 16 points. The Bobcats not named Robinson or Arnold attempted just eight shots from the
floor, making one, a "three" by Ravenell. Gratz received double-figure scoring from Stewart (17), Samuels and Blunt
(12 apiece). Smith settled for four points, but had six assists and two steals.
When both were little, Smith and Robinson lived near each other.
"He's still my friend," Smith said, "but on the court you have no friends."
With 1:49 left, Samuels, who'd taken a poor shot a half-minute earlier, made a strong move to the basket and
handed Gratz a 46-43 lead. At 1:16, Arnold tried a similar trick, but lost the ball. Stewart recovered on the floor
while calling for a that's-fast-thinking timeout.
When play was about to resume, Greg Carr was prevented from checking in for Ravenell (four fouls) because he
had not reported to the table before the first horn. Gratz was able to waste precious time as Ravenell covered Smith
and declined to foul. Finally, Smith was fouled at 0:40 and made both ends of the one-and-one for a 48-43 lead.
"Basically, we played a good game," Smith said. "But we could have done some things better, like a better job
against their zone. We missed some easy shots. A couple times we didn't make the extra pass."
In the previous four seasons, Gratz and FLC had met only once in the regular season, in '90. Gratz took both
games that season along with the title game in '91 and '93. FLC triumphed in '92.
"It didn't matter to me whether we played them," Smith said. "They're just part of the schedule."
The games, usually, become part of Public League lore.
***The teams DID meet in the final. FLC won, but later was forced to relinquish the championship for
using ineligible players. Gratz was named the champion.***
|**The Streak, Game by Game**|
|1988-89 (6)||Gratz||Opp.||Leading Scorer(s)||Points|
|Straw. Mansion||85||57||Aaron McKie||20|
|1989-90 (13)||Gratz||Opp.||Leading Scorer(s)||Points|
|University City||72||39||Harry Moore||22|
|Franklin LC||60||45||Aaron McKie||17|
|Straw. Mansion||94||34||Aaron McKie||29|
|King||80||50||Harry Moore / Rasheed Wallace||17|
|1990-91 (10)||Gratz||Opp.||Leading Scorer(s)||Points|
|Kensington||104||46||Contrell Scott / Wilfred Kirkaldy||20|
|Mastbaum||71||50||Rasheed Wallace / Levan Alston||16|
|Frankford||72||36||Rasheed Wallace / Jamahal Redmond||14|
|1991-92 (11)||Gratz||Opp.||Leading Scorer(s)||Points|
|Eng. & Science||79||36||Contrell Scott||25|
|1992-93 (11)||Gratz||Opp.||Leading Scorer(s)||Points|
|Roxborough||88||36||Rondell Turner / Shawn Smith||14|
|University City||78||44||Rondell Turner||19|
|West Phila.||60||47||Rasheed Wallace||22|
|1993-94 (11)||Gratz||Opp.||Leading Scorer(s)||Points|
|Straw. Mansion||83||46||Lynard Stewart||24|
|King||87||51||Shawn Smith / Michael Blunt||16|
|Franklin LC||48||46||Lynard Stewart||17|
|1994-95 (11)||Gratz||Opp.||Leading Scorer(s)||Points|
|Audenried||105||45||Brian Samuels / Jarret Kearse||20|
|Frankford||58||32||Dawan Boxley / Brian Samuels||12|
|Eng. & Science||69||64||Terrell Stokes||18|
|1995-96 (15)||Gratz||Opp.||Leading Scorer(s)||Points|
|University City||66||59||Marvin O'Connor||18|
|West Phila.||49||45||Marvin O'Connor||15|
|1996-97 (16)||Gratz||Opp.||Leading Scorer(s)||Points|
|Eng. & Science||66||47||Jarett Kearse||25|
|Edison||90||39||Rasheem Sims / Sharod Carroll||15|
|1997-98 (3)||Gratz||Opp.||Leading Scorer(s)||Points|
|Franklin LC||59||52||Purcell Coles||15|
|7812||4614||(Forfeit not counted in totals)|