The best of all time, without question. Such a statement is usually not an easy one to make or defend when the topic revolves around a school’s athletic teams with a history that stretches back roughly five decades, but in the case of the 1984-85 Johnson City High School girls’ varsity basketball team, there simply is no counter argument to be made. Hopes were high for a successful season for the lady ‘Cats when the season rolled around in the late fall of 1984, but no one could have imagined just how special it would prove to be.
Mary Shoemaker—1985 (Co-Captain)
The ‘Cats opened the season with two victories, winning the Windsor Tournament, but the Wildcats actually started the season a little slowly. After playing its first 10 league games, the ladies found themselves with a record of 6 wins and 4 losses. Some may have believed that the season was going to be up and down, but the truth was that the Wildcats were just starting to find their groove. Their last loss in the regular season was on January 16th; it would be over two months before the Wildcats experienced defeated again. They won their last 5 regular season games to qualify for the STAC playoffs at the Broome County Arena. After defeating Seton in the semifinals, they faced a Binghamton team in the finals that had already beaten the ladies ‘Cats twice. In a classic game, they defeated the Patriots in double overtime to be crowned STAC champions, and this was just the start. They returned to the Arena two weeks later to face Elmira Free Academy for the Section IV, Class B title, and again the Wildcats came out on top 54-52. Entering the state playoffs on a roll, the ladies easily disposed of their first opponent, crushing Ogdensburg 76-52. They followed up that win by beating Nottingham from Section III to capture the Central NYS Championship. The state semifinal game brought another difficult opponent in Rush-Henrietta from Rochester. Proving that they could win games in any fashion, the Wildcats put up 85 points, their highest total of the season, to win by 3, earning the Western NYS Championship and putting themselves in the New York State Championship game. Another daunting task awaited them as they faced a Glens Falls team in the finals that was playing in their hometown at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Home court didn’t matter in this one, as the Wildcats won their 15th game in a row, defeating Glens Falls 81-69 to win the New York State Class B Championship. Although the ‘Cats lost in the NYS Federation game to Moore Catholic the following day, nothing could diminish the accomplishments earned by this team. In fact, they were the first girls’ team from Section IV to ever win the New York State Championship and even play in the federation game!
To add to the team awards, several players from the team garnered individual accolades along the way. Tammy Maas was the leading scorer in STAC averaging 18.4 ppg, and she was voted All-STAC, All-Metro, NYS All-Tournament Team, 3rd team All-State, and she received an honorable mention as a U.S.A. Today High School All-American. Mary Shoemaker and Lori Czeitner were voted All-Division II, and Mary was also voted All-Metro and the MVP of the NYS Class B Tournament.
Head Coach Michelle Tidick had this to say to her players after their amazing run, “What impressed me the most was your team unity and identity. There was never a problem of jealousy, envy, or bad feelings among teammates. This excellent team attitude is what separated your team from others and allowed you to reach the top. We may have faced teams with more talent, but never did we meet a team with more desire, determination, perseverance, or drive.”
The Johnson City Athletic Hall of Fame is proud to welcome Johnson City’s first New York State Championship team in any sport and inarguably the best girls’ basketball team in the school’s history, the 1984-85 girls’ Varsity Basketball Team.
Team Members and JCHS Class:
Chris Charpinsky—1986 Head Coach: Michelle Tidick
Lisa Charsky—1986 Manager: Marie Astur
Lori Czeitner—1985 Statistician: Marcie Beach
Kris Davis—1985 (Co-Captain) Trainer: Tony “Doc” Cleary