St. Mary’s Cathedral State Champion Basketball Team (1952-53)
Saginaw St. Mary’s Cathedral High School’s boys’ varsity basketball team turned in the school’s only state championship in school history when they captured the Class C state title during the 1952-53 season. The Maroons, coached by Leo “Sam” Franz, defeated Muskegon St. Mary’s 59-57 in front of 9,600 fans at Michigan State’s Jenison Fieldhouse. St. Mary’s finished its regular season with a 12-4 record – losing two games each to city rivals St. Andrew’s and SS. Peter & Paul. The eastside cagers, a high-scoring team for its era, quickly went to work in district play at Arthur Hill High School by opening up with a 71-48 victory over Michigan Lutheran Seminary. St. Mary’s then met up with St. Pete’s in the third clash of the season between the two schools. The Maroons upended the Midgets 59-43 to capture the district title as St. Mary’s held SSPP to 17 of 73 shooting in the contest. In regional play, also held at Arthur Hill High School, the Maroons topped Clarkston 55-48 in its opening game. They then ran past Flint Utley 70-56 in the regional semifinal, before scoring 21 fourth quarter points to propel them to a 72-59 win over Flint Sacred Heart in the regional title game. St. Mary’s then ventured to Flint’s IMA Auditorium for its quarterfinal clash versus Grosse Pointe St. Paul’s. The Maroons halted St. Paul’s 18-game winning streak with a 70-44 thrashing. The Cathedral team went up against Hartford in the semifinal game at Lansing’s Boys Vocational School, and came away with a thrilling 65-62 overtime victory. In the state championship game against No. 1-ranked Muskegon St. Mary’s, the five Maroon starters – seniors Denny Troester, Dave Woodcock, Ron Rupert, Hubert Lynch and Bob MacDonald – played the entire game, and four of the five scored in double figures. Other team members included Lloyd “Pete” Bishop, Tom Storey, Terry McInerney, Tom Hiser, Jim LeFevre, and John Nickodemus. Rudy Gonzales was brought up from the junior varsity for the tournament, and team managers included Larry Hendrick and Tom Weadock. Franz was inducted into the Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.