A few weeks back, we brought you the top football teams in Monroe County history. It garnered more feedback than any other piece we have done, so with summer winding down and just a few weeks left before the pages are filled with scores and prep sports news, we are bringing you the top basketball teams in Keys history. Listed here in chronological order are Sean McDonald’s top picks.
The ’61-’62 Marathon boys team amassed a 14-4 record while leaning heavily on the play of Dave Sutherland. The Fins won the district trophy under the guidance of head coach Gene Dull and made the trip to Gainesville to participate in the state playoff series with the backing of the community, which helped raise money for the young team’s travel. The deep run into playoffs was made more notable by the fact that it was just the fifth year the program existed at Marathon.
1967-1968 Key West
Coach Dave Fedor’s ’68 Conchs won the state title and set the school record for wins with 31, a record which remains over a half century later. Fedor was named Florida’s Coach of the Year that season. His talented team was bolstered by the inclusion of players who formerly attended Douglass School, which closed in 1965. Notable team members included forward Ron Harris, the first Monroe County basketball player to receive All-State honors. Harris went on to play ball at Florida State University on a scholarship and received interest from professional teams, which he turned down to continue his education. The rest of the Conch roster included talent such as Lou Albury, Quinton Thurston and Bill Butler.
1968-1969 Key West
Coach Dave Fedor’s ’69 Conchs won 26 contests and made a postseason run that went all the way to the state championship game, in which the team earned second place. Notable players were Mike Raymond, Lou Albury and future Conchs coach Bill Butler. Butler was honored with first-team All-State honors at guard. The team played for a devoted home crowd that sold out the gym the entire season. The Conchs dominated their county rivals, but Coral Shores and Marathon were not too dismayed – each enjoyed their first season indoors with new gymnasiums. Prior to that season, the ’Canes and Fins played outside on the asphalt.
1970-1971 Mary Immaculate
Mary Immaculate School won 27 games in ’71, a school record which included a sweep of the rest of the county. The team eventually took second place in the state tournament. Notable players for Mary Immaculate were Rodney Wallace, Tom Ferguson and John Albury. Ferguson and Albury were named to All-State squads, the first players in school history to receive that honor. The team was coached by John Dougherty.
1971-1972 Mary Immaculate
For the second season in a row, John Dougherty coached Mary Immaculate to a second-place spot at the state tournament. The team won 20 games that season, including wins across Monroe County. John Albury was selected to the All-State team for a second season and teammate Maurice Thurston was a big contributor for the Mariners. The team was ranked as high as sixth in the polls during the season.
1983-1984 Coral Shores
The Hurricanes won a district title in 1984 under the excellent coaching of Don Shipp. The team broke the school win record that season, earning a record of 24-4. The ’Canes’ top scorer for the season was Willie Mitchell. Mitchell earned, then held, the all-time top scoring record until the 1992 season when Alvin Taylor surpassed it. Coral Shores went all the way to the regional final that season, taking second place.
Coached by Jim Sikora, the ’87 Marathon boys basketball team set the school record that season with 27 wins. Star forward Rodney Holmes did the majority of scoring for the Fins, was named the Miami News Player of the Year, and received a second-team All-State nod. The team won the first district championship in Marathon history and came in second place at regionals.
1991-1992 Coral Shores
Coral Shores’ first regional championship team was coached by Dan Smith. The ’Canes won 22 matches in the ’91-’92 season, with two of those victories over Key West. Alvin Taylor was the leading player for Coral Shores, earning second-team All-State honors as a forward. Taylor broke the career scoring record that season and went on to play collegiately at both Western
Nebraska and Central Connecticut.
Coached by Stuart Kantor, the ’93 Dolphins enjoyed hometown success by defeating the Conchs that season, then took their skills a bit further. Six hundred miles, to be exact, which was the distance the Fins’ five traveled to the state tournament that year. Marathon made it all the way to the Final Four, losing to the eventual state champion. The team was led by first-team All-State center Tony Bryant, who went on to play football professionally, but not before carrying the load for the Fins on the hardwood.
2001-2002 Key West
Coach Bill Butler’s Conchs won 29 games in ’02, winning the runner-up spot in the state tournament. Butler had an arsenal of talent that season, including a trio of All-State players. The Conchs’ talent pool included twins Damitrius and Dominique Coleman and Lamar Moore. Dominique earned the title “Mr. Basketball” in Florida and earned a National Junior College Championship ring at Hillsborough, transferred to Colorado University, and went on to play for the LA Lakers’ summer league team. Damitrius played at Mercer and Bethune Cookman. Moore played at a community college in Minnesota before transferring to Florida Atlantic University, where his play caught the eye of professional scouts. He played professionally with the Continental Basketball Association overseas.
2001-2002 Marathon Girls
Coached by Teresa Konrath, the Lady Dolphins were ranked as high as seventh in the state that season. Marathon broke its school win record with 21 Ws, including the district championship match. Konrath had a plethora of talent to work with, including second-team All-State center Consuelo Lezcano, who earned a four-year scholarship to UCLA, and third-team All-State guard Veronica Doughman, who played collegiately at Palm Beach Atlantic.