By DOUG DONNELLY
For what is believed to be the first time in school history, the Whiteford Bobcat boys basketball team will face the No. 1 ranked team in the state tonight when they take on the Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central Falcons.
The Bobcats have faced the No. 2 team several times, played against the defending or soon-to-be state champions and runners-up on multiple occasions and count dozens of games against a top 10 ranked team, but this is perhaps the first time against a No. 1 ranked team.
Whiteford (18-2) is ranked No. 7 and earned its ticket to the finals by beating Summerfield on Wednesday.
Whiteford has one win over top five team and multiple wins over top 10 teams:
- Morenci was ranked No. 5 and the last undefeated Class C team in the state when Whiteford beat them in 1987.
- Whiteford’s 2002-03 team beat Lenawee Christian when the Cougars were ranked No. 6 in Class D.
- The Bobcats beat No. 9 Morenci in 2007
- The 1978 Bobcats beat No. 9 Madison 53-38 at home.
- Whiteford beat No. 10 Madison in the 2008 district final on a last-second shot from Josh DuPree.
Whiteford has had some near-misses against highly-ranked teams.
In 1976, the Bobcats lost on a last-second shot to No. 2 ranked Ann Arbor St. Thomas. And, in the 1986 Regional final, the Bobcats dropped a 10-point decision to No. 4 ranked Concord in a game that Whiteford trailed by just five midway through the fourth quarter.
Whiteford also had some close calls with Ottawa Hills (Ohio) when the Green Bears were among the top-ranked teams in Ohio.
Whiteford has run into its share of highly-ranked teams in the state tournament.
Eventual state champion Detroit Consortium beat Whiteford 91-61 in a 2014 game in which Whiteford’s Colin Lake scored 47 points. Consortium, with current NBA player Josh Jackson leading the way, was ranked No. 2 in the final 2014 AP poll. Hanover-Horton was ranked No. 2 when they beat a 23-0 Whiteford team in the 2003 regional semifinals and Dansville was undefeated and ranked third when they topped Whiteford in a 1994 regional semifinal.
Just last season, SMCC was ranked No. 2 when it eliminated Whiteford in the Class C district.
Britton-Macon won back-to-back state championships in 1964 and 1964 but the Tories were never the No. 1 ranked team in the Associated Press poll at the time the Bobcats faced them.