Number One!

BY GERY WOELFEL Journal Times March 16, 1997

MADISON - It was 1943. Roosevelt occupied the Oval Office. Casablanca was the picture of the year, and "zoot" suits were the rage for young males.

1943 was also the year Park High School won the WIAA Division 1 boys' state basketball championship. It was the first state basketball title for a Racine public school.

Park's LaTonya Sims, left, and Nicole Peasley celebrate after the Panthers defeat Milwaukee Washington 59-31 in the Division 1 championship game Saturday at the WIAA state tournament in Madison.
It was also the last - until Saturday night, that is.

That's when Park's girls' team etched its name into the history books. In a thoroughly impressive display of team basketball, the Panthers defeated Milwaukee Washington 59-31 in the University of Wisconsin Field House.

"This is great," said screamed Angela Henderson, a Park senior, in an ecstatic Park section of the Field House after the game. "The girls really deserved this. They worked so hard for this."

Added Mandie Mutchie, a Park freshman: "I'm so happy," Mutchie said. "It doesn't get any better than this."

Yes, it was truly a special moment. A moment to cherish. A moment that will likely never be forgotten by Park players, coaches and fans.

Tom Fredericks of Racine certainly won't. He has faithfully followed the Panthers for years. In fact, two of his daughters, Nicole and Danielle, once played on Park girls' basketball team.

But while his daughters are no longer on the team, Fredericks' interest in the Panthers' fortunes hasn't waned.

"They've just been a lot of fun to watch," Fredericks said. "They're exciting."

Park girls win city's 1st WIAA title | Park girls' fans champions, too