As Sam Sees It

There are plenty of good memories from 2003 to savor as we look forward to an even better 2004. Let’s take a moment to reflect on both.

Winslow athletes had their share of success in 2003. The high school basketball teams both reached the state tournament and left fans with reason to expect an even better performance this year. The baseball and softball teams both won regional titles and, again, gave fans reason to expect the same or better in 2004.

Winslow had two Little League teams win their regional titles and play well in the state tournaments. The senior girls came away with a state championship and narrowly missed winning at the next level in Las Vegas.

The Bulldogs football team won the 3A North Region handily and reached the semi-finals of the state tournament. The Bulldogs gave state champion Show Low all they wanted before being ousted. There is every reason to believe that the 2004 Bulldogs will have the speed and talent to challenge for the ultimate prize once again.

WHS senior John L. Sullivan became the first Winslow player to win Player of the Year honors. Sullivan was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year by 3A Conference coaches following the season.

Girls’ basketball coach Don Petranovich notched his 600th career win and his ninth Winslow Winter Classic championship during the tournament that ended the 2003 portion of this season’s schedule. The Lady Bulldogs look perfectly capable of giving Petranovich the type of going away present he would like as he retires from coaching: a fifth state championship trophy.

That brings us to the first of the many accomplishments Winslow fans are anticipating for 2004. Anyone who is a fan of Winslow High School athletics should plan on attending the Arizona State 3A High School Basketball Championship Games at America West Arena in Phoenix on Feb. 28.

The Arizona Athletic Association (AIA) is planning to honor a pair of Winslow High School championship teams for 1979 as its Anniversary Teams. This was the only year in which both the boys’ and girls’ teams claimed state championships.

In addition, WHS basketball star Isaac Bonds will be honored on the 40th anniversary of his setting of the single season scoring record. Bonds averaged 40.6 points per game in 1964 for a Bulldog team that finished second in the state tournament. Bonds accomplished his feat in an era before the three-point shot and the bonus free throw.

There should also be a special honor of some kind for Petranovich who will retire as the winningest girls’ basketball coach in history. No one else is even close to the 602 wins he took into the 2004 portion of this season. Even if Winslow fans have to usurp the floor and make their own statement, this should be done. Of course, the best script will have this be a part of the celebration after the Lady Bulldogs have given him another state championship.

Regardless of whether there are state championships to be won or not, 2004 should be an exciting year for athletics in Winslow. The teams all look competitive and capable of delivering such trophies. Let’s savor the anticipation and enjoy the chase. Happy New Year’s.

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