When’s the last time you saw a state high school championship basketball team play at Woodlake High? Unless you were around for that Lady Tigers championship season in 1985, the answer to that rhetorical question is never.
But this Saturday night (Nov. 30), the’85 team is returning to the home hardwood once again and will be honored during a half-time presentation.
“Normally, we have a few players from three or four decades who return to suit up one more time,” said Kent Owen of Three Rivers, who will serve as the Lady Tigers assistant coach once again this season. “But this year, we wanted to do something special for the ’85 team and showcase some greatness in our program.”
Coach Owen said the accomplishments of those teams of the 1980s will never again be duplicated. He can’t recall one other team anywhere in the Valley that comes close to the success Woodlake High enjoyed under Coach Marvin Welch.
And they did it in Division 3 against some much bigger schools. The 1985 team went 27-1. And the one loss was in overtime and came early in the season.
During that incredible run from 1983 to 1986, the Lady Tigers won four Southern Sectional championships. In 1985, the team went on to win the state title.
Of the 15 players on the ’85 team, one is deceased and one, who was an exchange student, lives in Germany. Imagine coming to Woodlake High as an exchange student and your team wins the state basketball championship. What are the odds?
Of the other 13 players, 12 are committed to coming and the other is listed as probable. It’s going to be a memorable evening meeting and greeting these Lady Tigers, several who went on to play at the college level. And all went on to achieve success in their various careers.
Here’s a sampling of Saturday’s star-studded lineup.
Coach Marvin Welch— Marvin is a WHS ’64 grad. He was the varsity girls’ coach from 1980 to 1990 and, in addition to those championships, compiled an overall record of 204-58.
Irene Robles Teraoka— Irene was a senior from Woodlake on the ’85 team and one of its best players. She played volleyball, basketball, and softball at COS. At Fresno Pacific, she played on a national championship volleyball team. Today she moonlights as a basketball referee in Fresno County. Her day job is as a biology/AVID teacher at Buchanan High School in Fresno.
Carie Dever Boas— Carie, a Three Rivers junior on the ’85 team, was also an outstanding athlete. She attended Fresno State on a softball scholarship where she was recently inducted into their Sports Hall of Fame. She has coached college softball in Division 1 for the past 16 years.
Kathy Williams Brown— Kathy was another Three Rivers junior on the ’85 team and continues to reside in Three Rivers where she is a dental hygienist. She also is an ambulance paramedic.
Kerrie Bennett Gostanian— Kerrie was a Three Rivers sophomore on the ’85 team and is currently living in Visalia where she works as a pharmacist. She is the daughter of Steve and Chris Bennett of Three Rivers (Steve retired last year as Three Rivers’s longtime pharmacist). Kerrie and her husband coach the Golden West girls’ varsity basketball team.
Arrive early on Saturday (4 p.m.) to meet the entire star-studded roster during a special reception in the team’s honor.
Tip-off for the girls’ game is at 6 p.m. The boys will tip off in their annual alumni classic immediately following the girls game.
Admission for the gala alumni night at the high school Event Center is $5. Come out and show your Woodlake Pride and preview this year’s Tigers basketball teams too.