GIA track champions

As you are probably aware, the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) recognizes sports champions of the Georgia Interscholastic Association (GIA), the high school organization for black schools that existed from 1948-70.

The GHSA voted in 2002 to give this recognition to the GIA, a few months after a three-part series by J.C. Clemons and Derrick Mahone in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the league.

Mahone and Clemons listed all the known GIA champions at that time. It was not much of a list as there were not too many resources about the league that had been saved.

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A winning night for Screven County

The Screven County Lady Gamecocks won a basketball game December 27. Screven defeated Portal, 39-23. It was a dominating win for Screven, which was credited by MaxPreps as having a 21-5 halftime advantage.

More importantly for the Lady Gamecocks, it was their first win. Their first win in a long time – February 13, 2013, to be exact. In between these victories were 99 straight losses.

Note: The Sylvania Telephone, in previewing this season November 21, said the Lady Gamecocks had lost 87 straight and their last victory was February 2, 2013. MaxPreps schedules, which seem to be complete for Screven, showed 89 losses headed into the 2017-18 campaign. The schedule for this year indicates Screven lost 10 games this season before winning Wednesday. MaxPreps also has a February 13, 2013, game as their last win.

It is a testament to the coaches and players of Screven County that they continued in the face of adversity, kept playing in spite of odds.

Losing is never easy. The Lady Gamecocks endured much pain for their moment Wednesday and much kudos are merited by head coach Stephanie Davis, and all other coaches who have been in similar situations over the years.

Screven County finished the 2012-13 season with three straight losses, ending a 9-17 season.

The next year, 2013-14, was an 0-20 campaign. The streak nearly ended at nine games, with the Lady Gamecocks falling by just four points to Bryan County. The next year, three losses came by six points or less, including one to Southeast Bulloch by 32-31.

Close calls gave way to pure misery in 2015-16 and 2017-18. In 2015-16, they did not score more than 25 points in any game and were held under 10 points six times. They nearly ended it last year against Harlem, in a January 20 contest determined by eight points.

Fortunately for the Lady Gamecocks, they seem to be coming around. They have lost by a single point three times this year and are holding opponents to 36 points per game.

Fingers are crossed for better days and the Portal victory being the first of many.

Where Screven County stands in history is tough to determine.

Losing streak statistics are understandably not the easiest to find. The National Federation of High Schools does not track this type of record or others of a similar negative nature.

The national girls’ high school basketball losing streak is believed to belong to Wolcott Tech, based out of Torrington, Conn. Wolcott is not a standard public school, rather a tech-based one. Still, they suffered.

When Wolcott defeated Gilbert-Winstead December 18, 2008, it ended a 265-game skid which had begun in 1990. The Hartford Courant noted that none of the players on the current squad had even been born at the time.

Lineville-Clio, an Iowa school, also had a very long streak in the 1970s.

Unfortunately, not even Lineville-Clio, now defunct, was exactly sure of its length.

Former coach Sally Johnson told the Quad-City Times in 2003, “I’m not sure what the streak was, and I was the coach.”

Johnson said it might have been 130-140 games in length. There are discrepancies because no one was sure how or if to count some losses, which came to other schools’ junior varsity teams. Or when Lineville-Clio played by different rules. Iowa was six-on-six at the time and when it ventured to Missouri, that state was playing five-on-five. Some articles have credited the streak at 119 games.

The Quad-City article said Williford (Ark.) has been credited with a 129-game streak which went from 1995-99.

Back in the Peach State, records about strings of losses are difficult to track.

Most information comes from a clue that pops up in an archive here or a yearbook notation there.

In recent years, Cross Keys was credited with a 96-game losing streak that lasted from 2006-10. When the Lady Indians defeated Yeshiva (now part of Atlanta Jewish Academy), 31-28, in November 2010, it was their first victory since defeating Carver of Atlanta on January 28, 2006.

The 99 of Screven County surpassed Cross Keys’ mark, but thankfully the Lady Gamecocks aren’t the state’s longest streak.

As best as is currently known, that mark belongs to North Fulton.

North Fulton fell 107 straight times, from November 28, 1978 to December 2, 1983.

The Bulldogs of Coach Bill Scott ended it with a 36-30 win over Brown High.

“I can get amnesia and never forget this one,” Robin Kelly, one of North Fulton’s players, said to the Atlanta Constitution after the Brown win.

Both schools involved with the end of the streak are now closed. North Fulton combined with Northside of Atlanta in 1991 to form North Atlanta. Brown closed a year later.

Other known Georgia high school girls’ streaks:

– Bacon County entered the 2017-18 season with a 69-game streak. The Lady Red Raiders, which had last defeated Toombs County on January 21, 2014, opened this year by defeating Screven County, 23-22. Screven, of course, had a streak of its own at that time. Bacon has won three games so far this year, already more than in any season since 2012-13.

– The former Sequoyah High (which was located in Doraville), had a 50-game on-court skid that ended in January 1987. Sequoyah had won one other game during the season via forfeit. Sequoyah defeated Lovett, 41-38.

– Oglethorpe County was said to have lost in 62 straight games in a team preview from the start of the 2014-15 season. (Editor’s note: The author saw Oglethorpe in action during the streak and can recall at least two winless campaigns.)

– Westover’s girls had a streak of at least 54 games as of January 16, 1979. It is unknown how much longer it continued.

– The 1976 Lovett High yearbook was quoted as saying, “Excitement reached a peak as the fired-up Lion girls defeated Arlington [Christian] for their first win in three years.” The number of games of the streak is unknown.

In boys’ records:

– Irwin County had a 43-game losing streak that was snapped January 23, 1990 in a 68-59 win over Atkinson County.

– Baker County looks to have also had a long streak, according to MaxPreps records, in recent years. No confirmation has surfaced, however.

 

Sources: Atlanta Constitution – Dec. 3, 1983, Jan. 28, 1987; Atlanta Journal-Constitution – Dec. 10, 2010; The North Georgia News – Nov. 26, 2014; Albany Herald – Jan. 17, 1979; Tifton Gazette – Jan. 24, 1990; Hartford Courant – Jan. 11, 2009; Quad-City Times – Feb. 4, 2003; The Sylvania Telephone – Nov. 21, 2017.

When supporting integration could get educators fired

The 1950s were a time of upheaval in Georgia.

At the beginning of the decade, community schools were widespread, though there was little money and little to offer students beyond the school being local. Consolidations came to improve standards and with them, plenty of protests about the schools leaving the communities.

By the middle of the decade, many of these debates had subsided, with only a few major ones – Tennille’s objection of losing their high school to Sandersville and Oglethorpe versus Montezuma, for example – still on the table.

But there were other crises.

In 1954, Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, was decided. Effectively considered the end of separate but equal racial policies, the battle was just beginning.

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Counties not Tooke

The state of Georgia is the 21st largest in the United States of America based on land area. It is the largest state by land area east of the Mississippi River.

Despite the fact there are 20 states in America larger than Georgia, the state rockets up to No. 2 in another category: counties.

There are 159 counties in Georgia. At its peak – 1924-32 – there were 161 counties. Only Texas is more ridiculous in county numbers. The Lone Star State has 254 of them.

Georgia was always plentiful in counties.

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One night in 1966

The January 29, 1966 Tifton Gazette carried Associated Press high school basketball wire scores from around the state.

Football wire scores have been a constant in Georgia’s papers since the mid-1930s. Wire scores were fairly common then for basketball, but the practice has since faded out.

Wire scores for basketball were almost always mundane affairs, mostly limited then to Atlanta schools.

There was something a bit strange in that column, though.

St. Pius X won over Drexel in two games.

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Georgia’s high schools of 1949-50

Here’s a simple list: Georgia’s white high schools of 1949-50.

Currently, there is not a cumulative list freely available on the internet prior to 1960. The Georgia High School Association, citing the number of consolidations taking place in the 1950s, declined to publish region lists. Not that region lists were cumulative as in that era, there were a number of unaccredited high schools. Depending on year, the GHSA frowned upon its member schools playing non-accredited schools in the state, or at times, ignored it happening.

The methodology of this list was copying down the number of four-year public high schools per each listed school system in the Seventy-Eighth and Seventy-Ninth Annual Reports  of the Department of Education to the General Assembly of the State of Georgia.

Accredited high schools were applied to the list from the 1949-50 Georgia Educational Directory. At that time, the directory did not print what grades each school housed. Accredited high schools were listed in all caps.

Fortunately, much is known of school systems of that era to add in nearly all unaccredited high schools. We know all nine of Gordon County’s county schools and that Walker County was operating minuscule high schools at Cedar Grove and West Armuchee.

Unfortunately, not enough is known about Georgia’s African-American schools to attempt that list. The Annual Reports said there were 289 four-year black high schools in the year ending June 1950 (there were 482 white four-year public high schools). Sources are few and far between, especially for a rural county like Meriwether, which was said to have nine public African-American four-year high schools.

The stats from the Annual Reports almost assuredly contain a handful of errors. Glascock County, for example, was credited with two white high schools.

There were four schools in Glascock County in 1949-50, according to the Department of Education’s Educational Directory of the same year: Gibson, Bastonville, Edgehill and Mitchell. Gibson, of course, being the county seat and the biggest town in the county, had an all-grades 13-teacher school and was accredited as a high school by the state. The directory specifically labels Bastonville and Mitchell as junior high schools. Though not labeled, Edgehill was smaller than the two of those, at four teachers.

Any system number starred is one I feel the number is not correct.  Some likely had fewer schools. Some, like Cobb County, probably had more high schools than the list credited. If the asterisk appears by a school, it means I am not sure if the school was indeed a high school. Rather, it’s an educated guess.

In another note, the Annual Reports were not always consistent with breaking school systems into county and city. For example, Statesboro and Vienna were separate school systems than Bulloch and Dooly counties, respectively, but were included with them.

  • Appling (2) – Baxley, Surrency
  • Atkinson (2) – Pearson, Willacoochee
  • Bacon (1) – Bacon County
  • Baker (1) – Baker County
  • Baldwin (3) – Georgia Military College, Midway Vocational, Peabody
  • Banks (4) – Banks County, Davis Academy, Gillsville, Hickory Flat*
  • Barrow (1) – Statham
  • Bartow (4) – Adairsville, Cass, Pine Log, Taylorsville
  • Ben Hill (1) – Fitzgerald
  • Berrien (5) – Alapaha, Enigma, Nashville, Poplar Springs, Ray City
  • Bibb (3) – Lanier, Macon Vocational, A.L. Miller
  • Bleckley (1) – Cochran
  • Brantley (2) – Hoboken, Nahunta
  • Brooks (4) – Barwick, Dixie, Morven, Quitman
  • Bryan (2) – Bryan County, Richmond Hill
  • Bulloch (7) – Brooklet, Laboratory School, Nevils, Portal, Register, Statesboro, Stilson
  • Burke (4) – Girard, Midville, Sardis, Waynesboro
  • Butts (1) – Jackson
  • Calhoun (3) – Arlington, Edison, Morgan
  • Camden (2) – Camden County, South Camden
  • Candler (2) – Metter, Pulaski
  • Carroll (6) – Bowdon, Mount Zion, Roopville, Temple, Villa Rica, Whitesburg
  • Catoosa (2) – Lakeview, Ringgold
  • Charlton (2) – Charlton County, St. George
  • Chatham (2) – Commercial, Savannah
  • Chattahoochee (1) – Cusseta
  • Chattooga (5) – Gore, Lyerly, Menlo, Subligna, Summerville
  • Cherokee (2) – Canton, Woodstock
  • Clarke (2) – University Demonstration, Winterville
  • Clay (1) – Clay County
  • Clayton (3) – Forest Park, Jonesboro, North Clayton
  • Clinch (1) – Homerville
  • Cobb (8*) – Acworth, Austell, Fitzhugh Lee, Kennesaw, Mableton, McEachern, R.L. Osborne, Powder Springs, Smyrna. Nine schools.
  • Coffee (6) – Ambrose, Broxton, Douglas, Nicholls, Satilla, West Green
  • Colquitt (2) – Doerun, Norman Park
  • Columbia (3) – Evans, Harlem, Leah
  • Cook (1) – Cook
  • Coweta (4) – East Coweta, Grantville, Newnan, Western
  • Crawford (1) – Crawford County
  • Crisp (3) – Arabi, East Crisp, West Crisp
  • Dade (2) – Dade, Davis
  • Dawson (1) – Dawson County
  • Decatur (7) – Attapulgus, Bainbridge, Brinson*, Climax, Faceville*, Mount Pleasant, West Bainbridge
  • DeKalb (8) – Avondale, Chamblee, Clarkston, Druid Hills, Lithonia, Southwest DeKalb, Stone Mountain, Tucker
  • Dodge (5) – Chauncey, Chester, Dodge High, Eastman, Rhine
  • Dooly (5) – Byromville, Dooly High, Pinehurst, Unadilla, Vienna
  • Dougherty (0)
  • Douglas (1) – Douglas County
  • Early (4) – Blakely-Union, Damascus, Hilton, Jakin
  • Echols (1) – Echols County
  • Effingham (5) – Clyo, Effingham Academy, Guyton, Marlow, Rincon
  • Elbert (2) – Bowman, Nancy Hart Memorial
  • Emanuel (6) – Adrian, Emanuel County Institute, Garfield, Oak Park, Summertown, Swainsboro
  • Evans (1) – Claxton
  • Fannin (4) – Blue Ridge, Epworth, Fannin County, McCaysville
  • Fayette (1) – Fayette County
  • Floyd (6*) – Armuchee, Cave Spring, Coosa, Johnson, McHenry, Model, Pepperell. Seven schools.
  • Forsyth (2) – Chestatee, Cumming
  • Franklin (3) – Franklin County, Lavonia, Royston
  • Fulton (9) – Campbell, College Park, Fulton, Hapeville, Milton, North Fulton, Northside, Russell, West Fulton
  • Gilmer (1) – Ellijay
  • Glascock (2*) – Gibson. No other high schools.
  • Glynn (1) – Glynn Academy
  • Gordon (9) – Belwood, Fairmount, Liberty, Oostanaula, Plainville, Red Bud, Resaca, Sonoraville, Sugar Valley
  • Grady (2) – Cairo, Whigham
  • Greene (2) – Greensboro, Union Point
  • Gwinnett (11) – Bethesda, Buford, Dacula, Duluth, Grayson, Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Norcross, Snellville, Sugar Hill, Suwanee
  • Habersham (4) – Baldwin, Clarkesville, Cornelia, Demorest
  • Hall (10) – Air Line, Chattahoochee, Flowery Branch, Lyman Hall, Lula, Murrayville*, Oakwood, River Bend, Sardis (and unknown)
  • Hancock (1) – Sparta
  • Haralson (5) – Bremen, Buchanan, Tallapoosa, Waco (and unknown).
  • Harris (4) – Chipley, Hamilton, Mountain Hill, Waverly Hall
  • Hart (1) – Hartwell
  • Heard (2) – Centralhatchee, Franklin
  • Henry (2) – Hampton, McDonough
  • Houston (2) – Perry, Warner Robins
  • Irwin (3) – Irwinville, Mystic, Ocilla
  • Jackson (5) – Benton, Braselton, Commerce, Jefferson, Maysville
  • Jasper (1) – Monticello
  • Jeff Davis (1) – Jeff Davis
  • Jefferson (6) – Avera, Bartow, Louisville, Stapleton, Wadley, Wrens
  • Jenkins (1) – Millen
  • Johnson (2) – Kite, Wrightsville
  • Jones (1) – Jones County
  • Lamar (1) – Milner
  • Lanier (1) – Lanier County
  • Laurens (10) – Brewton, Cadwell, Cedar Grove, Condor, Dexter, Dublin, Dudley, Lowery, Rentz, Wilkes
  • Lee (1) – Lee County
  • Liberty (1) – Bradwell Institute
  • Lincoln (1) – Lincolnton
  • Long (1) – Ludowici
  • Lowndes (6) – Clyattville, Hahira, Lake Park, Naylor, Pine Grove, Valdosta
  • Lumpkin (1) – Lumpkin County
  • Macon (4) – Ideal, Marshallville, Montezuma, Oglethorpe
  • Madison (4) – Colbert, Comer, Danielsville, Ila
  • Marion (1) – Buena Vista
  • McDuffie (2) – Dearing, Thomson
  • McIntosh (1) – Darien
  • Meriwether (4) – Greenville, Luthersville, Manchester, Woodbury
  • Miller (1) – Miller County
  • Mitchell (4) – Hopeful, Mitchell County, Pelham, Sale City
  • Monroe (1) – Mary Persons
  • Montgomery (2) – Montgomery County, Mt. Vernon-Ailey
  • Morgan (1) – Morgan County
  • Murray (1) – Murray County
  • Muscogee (3) – Baker, Columbus, Jordan
  • Newton (1) – Newton County
  • Oconee (2) – Bogart, Oconee County
  • Oglethorpe (2*) – Oglethorpe County. Oglethorpe County was the only high school.
  • Paulding (2) – Dallas, Hiram
  • Peach (2) – Byron, Fort Valley
  • Pickens (2) – Pickens County, Tate
  • Pierce (2) – Blackshear, Patterson
  • Pike (2) – Concord-Molena, Zebulon
  • Polk (1) – Rockmart
  • Pulaski (1) – Hawkinsville
  • Putnam (1) – Eatonton
  • Quitman (1) – Georgetown
  • Rabun (3) – Lakemont, Rabun County, Rabun Gap
  • Randolph (2) – Cuthbert, Shellman
  • Richmond (3) – Hephzibah, Richmond Academy, Tubman
  • Rockdale (1) – Conyers
  • Schley (1) – Schley County
  • Screven (5*) – Bay Branch, Hilltonia, Jackson, Newington, Rocky Ford, Sylvania. Six high schools.
  • Seminole (1) – Seminole County
  • Spalding (1) – Spalding
  • Stephens (2) – Stephens County, Toccoa
  • Stewart (2) – Richland, Stewart County
  • Sumter (2) – Plains, Union
  • Talbot (1) – Talbot County
  • Taliaferro (1) – Alexander Stephens Institute
  • Tattnall (3) – Collins, Glennville, Reidsville
  • Taylor (2) – Butler, Reynolds
  • Telfair (5) – Lumber City, McRae-Helena, Milan, Ocmulgee, Workmore
  • Terrell (1) – Terrell
  • Thomas (5) – Boston, Coolidge, Meigs, Ochlocknee, Pavo
  • Tift (2) – Omega, Tifton
  • Toombs (3) – Lyons, Toombs Central, Vidalia
  • Towns (1) – Towns County
  • Treutlen (1) – Treutlen
  • Troup (4) – Center, Gray Hill, Rosemont, (Hillcrest or Mountville)
  • Turner (3) – Ashburn, Rebecca, Sycamore
  • Twiggs (3) – Smith, Twiggs, Twiggs-Wilkinson
  • Union (2) – Union County, Woody Gap
  • Upson (1) – Yatesville
  • Walker (6*) – Cedar Grove, Chattanooga Valley, LaFayette, Rossville, West Armuchee. Likely only five high schools.
  • Walton (3) – Loganville, Monroe, Social Circle
  • Ware (4) – Manor, Wacona, Waresboro, Waycross
  • Warren (1) – Warrenton
  • Washington (4) – Davisboro, Harrison, Sandersville, Tennille
  • Wayne (3) – Odum, Screven, Wayne County
  • Webster (1) – Webster County
  • Wheeler (4*) – Glenwood, Shiloh, Wheeler County. Likely just three high schools.
  • White (2) – Cleveland, Nacoochee
  • Whitfield (7) – Cohutta, Dawnville, Pleasant Grove, Tunnel Hill, Valley Point, Varnell, Westside
  • Wilcox (4) – Abbeville, Pineview, Pitts, Rochelle
  • Wilkes (2) – Tignall, Washington
  • Wilkinson (4) – Gordon, Irwinton, Toomsboro, Twiggs-Wilkinson
  • Worth (4) – Bridgeboro, Sumner, Sylvester, Warwick
  • Albany (1) – Albany
  • Americus (1) – Americus
  • Athens (2*) – Athens. Probably just one high school.
  • Atlanta (9) – Bass, Brown, Central Night, Grady, Murphy, O’Keefe, Roosevelt, Smith, Sylvan
  • Barnesville (1) – Gordon Military
  • Calhoun city (1) – Calhoun
  • Carrollton (1) – Carrollton
  • Cartersville (1) – Cartersville
  • Cedartown (1) – Cedartown
  • Chickamauga (1) – Gordon Lee
  • Cordele (1) – Cordele
  • Dalton (1) – Dalton
  • Decatur city (2) – Decatur Boys, Decatur Girls
  • Elberton (1) – Elberton
  • Gainesville (1) – Gainesville
  • Griffin (1) – Griffin
  • Hogansville (1) – Hogansville
  • LaGrange (1) – LaGrange
  • Marietta (1) – Marietta
  • Moultrie (1) – Moultrie
  • Rome (2*) – Rome. Likely one high school as Georgia School for the Deaf and Berry both called private.
  • Tallulah Falls (1) – Tallulah Falls
  • Thomaston (1) – R.E. Lee
  • Thomasville (1) – Thomasville
  • Toccoa (1) – Toccoa
  • Trion (1) – Trion
  • West Point (1) – West Point
  • Winder (1) – Winder

Indefensible: Schools closing after winning state basketball titles

A wide variety of Georgia high schools have won state basketball championships.

The GIAA began state tournaments for its league in 1922 and the official Georgia High School Association championships started in 1926. (For reasons unknown the GHSA does not list the 1926-37 champions on its site.)

Of course, in nearly 100 years of tournaments, not all schools are still standing.

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