Basketball: The Earliest Team Sport in MHS History
Exercise and recreation have been important parts of Milton Hershey School since it was founded in 1909. Milton Hershey expressed this priority in a Success Magazine interview when he said, “I insist that the orphan boys here have plenty of play time, indoors and out, and take part in plenty of games.”
As the school and students grew, they learned how to play basketball, which was the school’s earliest team sport. Take a look at the fascinating timeline of Milton Hershey School’s basketball program and how it continues to grow today!
1922: The First Season
The first mention of an organized Hershey Industrial School sport—now known as Milton Hershey School—came in January of 1922 when the Harrisburg Evening Report described a basketball game between the Hershey Industrial School “Big Five” and the Archer Reserve team from the Lebanon YMCA.
Even though the Hershey Industrial School boys lost 17-8, “The locals were loud in their praise of the Hershey lads, even in defeat, for, after the battle on the court the Archers were shown thru the entire [Hershey Industrial School].”
1934: The First Interscholastic Game
The basketball team competed in their first interscholastic games in the 1934-35 season in the new Junior-Senior High School. Alfred Gibble, who also coached football, was head coach for 16 years and helped the team achieve a nine-year winning streak.
1942: World War II Gasoline Shortages
During the gasoline shortages of World War II, football was suspended in 1942. The basketball season was shorter, but it continued with students taking public transportation to away games. The 1944-45 team lost only one out of eight games.
1970: First Conference Championship
The school celebrated its first conference championship team in 1970. That season, Jay Rountree ’70, a 6’10” senior, set the following records:
- New all-time career record in scoring—1221 points
- All-time record for scoring in a single season
- All-time career and single season record in rebounds
- All-time career and single season record in blocked shots
The team also set a new record for 19 wins in one season!
1980: First Girls’ Team
In 1980, the school created its first girls’ basketball team after high school girls were admitted in the 1978-79 school year. Two girls have hit the 1,000 point mark since then.
1981: First (and Only) State Championship
In 1981, the Milton Hershey School boys’ basketball team won our first and only state championship!
2017: One Thousand Career Points
The MHS basketball program remains strong with several conference championships, district and state playoff appearances.
This year, Don’yae Baylor-Carroll, an MHS senior, hit a three-pointer in the beginning of the season. This put his total at 1,001 points to become the ninth player in MHS basketball history, both boys and girls, to achieve 1,000 points.
As our basketball program continues to grow, MHS athletes are achieving success both on and off the court!
Milt Memories History Blog
MHS Department of School History works hard to preserve the Hersheys’ values and students’ cherished memories through articles, photos, interviews and artifacts. Follow along with our monthly blog series focused entirely on the fascinating school history and inspiring work of our founders.