2019 is an incredibly special year for the city of North Canton. 80 years ago on Sunday, March 19, 1939, the North Canton High School basketball team lead the citizens in a 150 car victory parade to celebrate the first and only basketball state championship for the city of North Canton.
The championship game consisted of a 24-23 triumph over Sandusky St. Mary’s in the capital city of Columbus, playing their last four games in just three days and having both the semi-final and championship game in the same day.
To put this in some sort of perspective, teams today get at least a two-day break to rest before they play the next game in the tournament, let alone the championship game. These players were completely exhausted by the time Saturday, March 18, 1939, rolled around. The final score of this game reflects the entire season as a whole: an utter grind to success. The team started off with a record of 1-4, only to turn it around and win 22 games in a row.
Going beyond the game and the team itself, the city of North Canton and the country were trudging through some very difficult times. Nearing the decline of the Great Depression there was still a large percentage of the population unemployed and looking for something to identify with and cling to. In addition, World War II had begun, causing the entire nation’s stress levels to rise.
On that Sunday, March 19, 1939, the Canton Repository published the state championship basketball team’s article directly next to an update from World War II. While the U.S. had not yet entered into the war, the growing tensions and conflict in Europe left many in the country anxious about if and when the war could reach our homeland.
This basketball state championship did so much more for the city of North Canton than simply winning a sports award at the state level. It created a wave of positive morale that gave the people in North Canton a certain sense of security and ease. They realized that no matter what happens in or around their city, they could to band together and move forward.
In order to honor this period of North Canton history, the calendar for 2019 will consist of images from the state championship basketball team as well as other successful sports teams throughout the decades.
Guest Post Written by Intern Alex Hobson