Before March Madness
1962 was Wilmington College’s rookie year in the National Junior College Championship tournament.
Seahawks beat North Greenville Junior College 93-69 in the final game of a best-of-three series for the Viriginia-Carolinas region title. The team earned the right to advance to the National Junior College Basketball Championship in Hutchinson, Kan.
This win gave Wilmington a 20-4 season record with no losses to a junior college squad.
Accustomed to playing in Brogden Hall at New Hanover High School, the 10-man squad and Coach Brooks boarded a Piedmont Airlines flight for Hutchinson, Kan. and its large arena.
The Wilmington College Seahawks lost to Trinidad (Colo.) in the final seconds of the opening game (73-72). As the teams were not seeded, Wilmington moved on to the consolation bracket.
Wilmington College Seahawks crushed Weber College Wildcats from Ogden, UT in the second game (78-65).
Bethany Lutheran Junior College from Mankato, MN eliminated Wilmington College from the Tournament, 85-67.
Gene “Bogie” Bogash was named to the National Junior College All-American team after the 1962 tournament. He was ranked 7th in the nation for Junior Colleges.
A Shot at Redemption
Wilmington College headed to the National Jr. College Championships for a second time in 1963.
To qualify for the tournament, the Seahawks defeated Roanoke, VA and Brevard for the regional title.
Wilmington College defeated Broome (Binghamton, NY) 83-79 in a double-elimination round.
The Wilmington Morning Star newspaper reported that the Seahawks finished sixth in a field of 17 teams in the tournament. They were billed as the “Cardiac Kids” for providing the most excitement of any team in the tournament.
- Leading scorer and rebounder, Gene Bogash, was named Junior College Basketball Player of the Year.
- Bogash drew a standing ovation from the crowd of 9,000.
- All the games were close. The team played one triple overtime game and two single overtime games.
- The team’s last four games were played in a span of 56 hours.
- The entire squad totaled nine players, at least four of whom were on baseball scholarships. The baseball team’s first home game was scheduled for March 26, the same day basketball team returned to Wilmington from Kansas by car.
Click the article to read more about the 1962 team in the Seahawk Online Archive.
Click the picture to read more about the 1963 team in the Seahawk Online Archive.